LinkedIn & the Folly of Endorsement Pimping

First, to everyone who has taken the time to ‘Endorse’ me on LinkedIn: many thanks.

The theory behind LI Endorsements is sound. It gives people a quick way to acknowledge the skills of their connections. The other way to do the same thing is to write a LI Recommendation, but the fact of that matter is most of us don’t take the time to do so (although it doesn’t really take that long) and Recos usually only happen by request.


Initially, the practice of Endorsements lived up to the promise of the theory. If you felt like giving a Connection an online “pat on the back”, you visited his or her page, and chose from the listed skills the ones you felt comfortable endorsing.

Endorsements earned some respect and became a relatively popular way to do something nice for a Connection. Then LinkedIn tried to cash in on all the activity.

They began to pimp out Endorsements. Instead of needing to visit your Connections’ Profiles, LI dangled Endorsement possibilities at the top of your Profile page.

Suddenly, every time you visited your Profile page you got messages like:

“Does Biff Spackle know about Branding?

Endorsing someone on LI became just about the easiest, and emptiest, gesture you could make online.

You and Biff probably exchanged business cards at a trade show in Vancouver in 2008. Never seen him before or since. You haven’t a clue if Biff knows his branding from his button hole.

LinkedIn shows how misguided our trust can beBut, you and the rest of us are very trusting. We all believe that, if LinkedIn asks the question, then Biff must be pretty good at branding. And we all want to be nice to each other on LinkedIn, especially when Biff might be connected to our next employer, so let’s just give old Biff the Endorsement.

I’m not sure how LI decides on which of our listed skills to display in the Endorsement recommendations it makes to our connections, but, considering some of the off-target Endorsements I have, it seems like they tweaked an algorithm that Netscape rejected in 1995.

Witness: My LI Profile mentions ‘Google Analytics’ once, in the line “good working knowledge of Google Analytics” that appears half way throug

h one of the “Experience” sections.

But, if you check my Endorsement stats, you’d think I was an Analytics guru. Second only to SEO, (which is also over-represented) my Analytics endorsements outnumber those for skills in which I am far more experienced and accomplished, including ‘Digital Marketing’, ‘Copywriting’ and ‘Social Media Marketing’, which are also mentioned in my Profile far more often and prominently than Analytics,

Now I get messages requesting Analytics and SEO services that, while my experience with them bears mentioning in my Profile, I’m not really qualified to give.

Making Endorsements easier to give must have increased traffic and interaction on LI, but it also removed any credibility Endorsements carried and created the potential for viewers of your Profile to misunderstand your skill set.

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Are Social Media Becoming More Manly?

Everyone knows that more women than men participate in social media. It’s where all those comments come from about women liking to “chat” more than men, so they take more naturally to social.

Wise cracks aside, there’s been endless speculation, from men being more socially isolated to women being more socially aggressive, about why there’s such a notable gap between the sexes on social.

On some sites, the difference is really incredible. The percentage of online women who use Pinterest is 500% greater than the percentage of online men who use the site.

But it looks like all the speculation may soon be unnecessary. Following a long period where the percentages of online women who used social were 20% to 35% greater than the percentages of online men, the gap has suddenly closed.

According to a Pew Research Center Survey conducted between May, 2008 and May, 2013, the percentage of online men who use social actually decreased by 1% between August, 2011 and December, 2012, while the women’s percentages went up by 5% during the same time period.

But, in the 5 months following December, 2012, the share of men using social spiked by 8%, the largest jump in three years. In May, 2013, 70% of online men and 74% of online women used social, a difference that Pew does not consider statistically significant.


But women don’t dominate men in all social media. Despite the huge gap on Pinterest, men enjoy a slim lead (one percentage point) on Twitter and a four percentage point lead on Reddit.


Perhaps the most significant number to come out of Pew’s research? Five years ago, just 29% of online adults used social; today it’s 72%.

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Klout: What It Is & Why You Should Care

”I am not a number! I am a man!” says Patrick McGhoohan’s character, Number Six, at the start of every episode of the classic cult TV series “The Prisoner”.

We’ve been numbers for longer than we think. Americans have had social security numbers since the Great Depression.

But, so far, we’ve managed to keep it so that our reputations, brands and image are linked to our names and not any of the many numbers attached to them.

Until now.


image courtesy of


Klout is one of the first widely accepted scales for measuring social media influence. The higher your Klout score, between one and 100, the more influence you have. Or at least that’s what the principals of Klout, a privately-held company, want you to believe.

Among other metrics, Klout looks at your numbers of Twitter followers, people following you, retweets and the quality of your followers. They combine that information with similar data from Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Foursquare and Klout itself to come up with your Klout Score.

Launched in 2009, Klout now gauges the influence of over 500 million social media users.
Klout and its effort to become the standard of social media influence has more than a few detractors. In the early days, Justin Bieber had a perfect 100 Klout score, while U.S. President Barack Obama wallowed at 58.

But the company has since managed to improve its metrics and attract $30 million in investment – some of it from the former detractors.

Klout, and others like it, including Kred and PeerIndex, are increasingly interwoven into the fabric of social media.

  • Major Marketers, including Ford, GM and Sears actively seek out those with high Klout scores in certain categories as a means of generating online word-of-mouth marketing
  • Klout scores are used to rank candidates for certain job positions
  • Consumers look to high-Klout influencers for unbiased advice on purchases
  • There’s even a dating site that finds you a mate based on your Klout score

Like it or not, if you use the main social media, your activity has been measured and assigned a Klout score. It might not be so significant now, but instead of going away, like many predicted it would, social media ranking will most likely continue to evolve, and become more significant as it does.

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Copywriting Rules for Writing First Drafts

If you’ve ever written copy for advertising, marketing materials or the web – even if you’re not a copywriter but just the unlucky soul elected to do the dirty work – you will know that what ends up in the final version is not what first came out of your head.

If you are a copywriter, you’re familiar with having multiple drafts of your work as it is developed from rough to polished. Getting there could take two drafts, or 20.

Regardless of how many drafts you write, none are nearly as difficult as the first.

You’ve heard of “writer’s block” and, if it exists, it manifests itself in the first draft.

To help you avoid any issues the next time you get the dreaded call to copy, the good folks at Copyblogger were kind enough to put together 10 Rules for Writing First Drafts. (see below)

The points are all good and should get you to a successful first draft sooner than later.

The only slight downside for me is the unfortunate liberty that’s taken with the copywriting for the Rules. I can only guess it’s an attempt to be different, cute or shocking.

For example, point 5: “Break every rule known to man.” Even if you knew every copy and grammar rule, you wouldn’t actually have to break them all as a prerequisite for completing your first draft. It’s better written as: “Don’t worry if you break every rule known to man”.

Aside from my nit-picking, I would add one more point to the 10, between points 2 and 3, and it’s simply this:

Start writing.

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Recent Copywriting Projects

The shoemakers children have no shoes and the copywriter’s blog is bare!

So, instead of waiting for time to materialize enough to write the brilliantly witty, erudite and enlightening posts of which I dream, I hope you’ll take a look at two of my recently completed copywriting projects.

Arax Jewellers

Arax Jewellers Copywriting

Arax Jewellers

The Arax Jewellers story is the stuff of legend in the cultural mosaic of Canada. A man leaves the uncertainty of his homeland, comes to Canada, works hard, prospers and now reaps the reward of
working with his family in a successful business.

It was my pleasure to meet and collaborate with the Khatcherians, to hear their story and have the privilege of relating it in the web copy of their stunning new site.

Office Coffee Service

Office Coffee Service Copywriting

Office Coffee Service

One of the great pleasures of copywriting is learning every day about new people and businesses. And when that new business is about your favourite addiction, then it doesn’t get much better than that.

Coffee. Yes. These are the days when I was able not only to drink it in, but write it out too. Mocha Java, Kona, Sumatran organic; every name lending poetry to the copy. So let’s have another cup!

Many thanks to everyone at Office Coffee Service Toronto for the pleasure of writing the copy for their new web site.

If you’re still reading: thanks! I appreciate it. Just in case the fact that you’re still here means you want to see more, you can always check my weekly blog post at:

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Your Blog

What else would a Marketing Content Professional write about for the first post on his new blog?

Your blog is very powerful and should be a mainstay of your Content Marketing.
Here’s Why:

Content – It’s all about content. The written word is the purest form of content and the basic means of communicating through your blog. But you can also use your blog to publish and promote all of your other content. It gives you extra mileage from that content and more opportunities for search engines to find it.

Links – You know what else search engines love? Links. Your blog content lets you link to relevant pages, including those on your website, your blog site and your social networks, which makes your blog, and the link targets much more valuable to search engines

Information Flow – If you use content marketing, it includes social media, which means you need a constant flow of relevant information to post. One blog post can fuel your social media content across a number of platforms and in a variety of ways.

Branding – By pumping good, consistent and relevant information through your blog, it will achieve a critical mass that makes it a valuable resource and improves your brand reputation.

Like most worthwhile pursuits, blogging is neither fast nor easy, but it will be fun when you see what’s possible.


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