Thursday, 25 October 2012

Gamifying LinkedIn to drive engagement?

LinkedIn has changed again recently… 

Once upon a time you chose your key skills/ tags. You encouraged a few people you had worked with to write a few words of public recommendation. End of story.

Yet with recent changes, LinkedIn is encouraging members to endorse the skills on the profiles of your contacts in a broader, less effort intense way.  Whether this is a good thing or not in a world where wisdom of the crowd arguably counts more than ever in the way we process and trust information is debatable.  Does it make your claimed self-defined skills less credible if no-one endorses them? What if those skills were gained a while back working in a different context, and possibly amongst a crowd of people less digitally active or savyy?

I don’t have the answers but the questions arise.

What’s also interesting from my observations and a few conversations with friends. Is how LinkedIn have gone about encouraging these quick click “light” endorsements: On a site that’s generally more serious and functional in mindset, and all the better for not being plagued by endless achievement based status posts from the Zynga game of the month, all of a sudden appeared some pictures of my contacts with skills asking me to click to endorse person X with skill Y. 

There are rather a lot of parallels with many of the big social games… easy, quick, engaging. Photos and the question “Does X know about Y” make it hard not to at the very least entertain the thought if not respond.  It makes you think about your contacts and is really rather compulsive… once you start and the picture/skills tiles keep refreshing, it’s really rather easy to lose 5 minutes, just waiting to see who / what pops up next, given some of the skills would appear to be drawn from profile data beyond just the keyword tags.

 Smart experience design from LinkedIn at the very least.

 Maybe it’s the social gaming element that is behind the fact that so far, based admittedly on a small panel of my friends, over only a short period of time since the feature went live, that there seem to be more endorsements from women than men, and they are generally fair / on occasion generous ones.
 Gender bias towards gaming behaviours and benefit of the doubt/ assumption that if they were doing XYZ job then they must know about said subject seem to prevail.

Right, perhaps I’ll hop off and play some more. It’s rather fun. 

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