Frank (not his real name) and I (not my real name) are connected. I have never met Frank. I don’t know where he lives, what he looks like, what he does and how he does it. Frank doesn’t know me either, obviously. But we are connected because we both subscribe to one of those social/professional on-line networks that are designed to group people so that we can together expand our profiles, add to our connections, and help each other become rich and famous. We’d all like that, wouldn’t we?
Frank is a newbie on the network and has apparently been seduced into recommending me for my skills. He has leapt wholeheartedly into the job and has endorsed me in more categories than is credible. He has done his best to raise my modest profile by a factor of five at least, and it will never be possible to live up to it. And how did he miss my dragon-slaying, my cure for Ebola and my devilish knack for snail-training?
I am aware of the strategies of the network in question and know that it sends urgent and peremptory emails to people demanding that they recommend their connections for this and that without any prompting from the endorsee himself/herself. It has already suggested that I endorse the unknown Frank for skills he may never have heard of and couldn’t claim, and that I certainly can’t attest to. And it’s doubtful if any of my “connections” initiated any of the endorsements I’ve been urged to make for them but have, perhaps rudely, ignored. Which probably accounts for the shrinking-violet status of my own public profile.
Anyone who succumbs to the pressure and starts the process should be prepared to sit at the computer till the end of time. Faces appear on the screen as on a conveyor belt and you are invited to endorse them and their myriad accomplishments one at a time until you realise it isn’t going to stop, ever, until the whole world has passed by your glazing eyes. It’s all a wondrous mirage, designed to kid us into thinking how successful and connected we people are who are clever enough and successful enough to join the elite.
Except of course that it is nothing of the sort. Endorsements so easily obtained are worthless, I say loftily. But – sneaky thought: might they work? As in “fake it till you make it”?