Today I had a request from someone to provide a recommendation on LinkedIn. For those not familiar, it's a professional networking site where you note your "connections". And can provide recommendations, if wanted. I was uncomfortable saying yes because of our positions with each other, so explained my no - but found it hugely awkward - and wonder if there is much more of this ahead?
In an online world of ratings, will we be expected to rate and/or recommend each other? And how serious will recommendations be for those who are absolutely outstanding if we routinely hand out our recommendations like candy? Are you going to recommend everyone so as not to offend anyone?
If you're willing to write an employment recommendation in letter form; what are your thoughts about telling the world that opinion online? Might be expected by those who ask. Future employers might believe you. And a Google search on your name might just bring up the recommendation you gave.
I probably contract with 50 speakers a year, and routinely use various vendors/consultants for a wide variety of projects. The ones I absolutely love I tell everyone in the world about - and no one needs to ask. Every once in awhile someone I hardly know will ask me for a quote for their marketing materials, site or a letter for their mailings (versus just putting me on a client list), and I say no. It's horrifically awkward to say no. Can't a recommendation be most valuable to those who really, really, really earn it for being extraordinary if it's not just constantly given?
And then there's online self-raters, or rate their friends all the time raters. Deeply into self promotion, which fascinates me ("Wow - I was extra great today" or "If you missed this great thing someone said about me, here it is"). Think that's here to stay too?
Another favorite: People who don't know they're officially in or out of a relationship until it's confirmed on Facebook. Or worse, they're asked, and have to report one way or the other on the STATUS of their relationship. Like LinkedIn recommendation requests. You may only think you're in love. And you have to publicly announce it if you are. Or reject them. Ouch.
Online professional ratings needs to be taken seriously, don't they?