Guilt Is Something You Give Yourself

Shane Schick titled his article “LinkedIn Guilt: The new social networking disease” over on IT World Canada, and suggests that there’s issues related to asking for recommendations.

I think he’s overplaying the issue, but go ahead, read his article and come back to this window;-)

I’ll explain…

Asking mere acquaintances for recommendations

The first problem he highlights is where an individual was asked for a recommendation by someone he barely remembers.

First, the other person should have never asked for that recommendation, but lets take it from the receiver’s point of view.

There’s nothing wrong with explaining to an individual that you can’t give them a recommendation.

Why is that so hard to conceive of? Any “guilt” this person feels is their own emotion. The requester either thought the relationship was memorable, or is looking to game the system. If it’s the former, they deserve to know it was a one sided relationship. If it’s the later, they already know the endorsement wasn’t going to occur.

It is also possible that two people that didn’t know and trust one another connected, and that’s a different issue;-)

Offering endorsements first

The best way to become a recipient of endorsements is to offer them first – If you were to endorse the top ten people you connect to, you’re likely to get a half dozen returned.

Don’t believe me? Try it;-)

Less than helpful endorsements

Shane’s last salvo is that perhaps endorsements will become less believable if people are guilted into giving them… I don’t buy that. People aren’t going to spend their time making phony endorsements for people they don’t respect.

Now – I’m certain that a few less ethical users of the system might do something like create a fake profile and give themselves an endorsement from it… Which is why one is able to check the source of an endorsement – to see that individual’s credentials as well.

Guilt is something you have control over

So, the next time you feel brow beaten or guilty about a request, stand up to the emotion and address it head on. Guilt – that’s your own response to someone else’s action.



  1. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the thoughtful and detailed response to my post. I think you’re right: I should have stressed that we’re ultimately responsible for our own guilt, not LinkedIn. It seems, though, that a lot of the people who really use social networking are inherently social people, so maybe we’re more likely to want to help anyone who asks. Or maybe that’s just the Canadian in me talking. Anyway, I enjoyed your post.

  2. Shane,

    I might have pointed out in my piece that I’ve had people question endorsements when I’m doing a seminar on LinkedIn – apparently they’ve been trained to have a degree of skepticism;-)

    When I endorse, it’s because I think the recipient is worthy of it – and I expect that others endorse for similar reasons.

    That’s what I tell them – but it’s probably good to have a little voice that suggests “that endorsement’s too good to be true” once in a while because even though I’m an optimist, I’m sure some endorsements are not genuine…


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