Recently I got my hand slapped by a LinkedIn connection who was upset about a question I asked on LinkedIn. I asked what the beef was, thinking that person thought I was self-promoting, or something like that. No, it wasn’t that… the contact said I asked a question that was based on opinion, and the purpose of LinkedIn Answers is to identify or hear from experts, and how in the world could I draw experts out with a question based on opinion?
So I did some digging. Here’s what LinkedIn says about “becoming an expert:”
When you see this star on a profile, you know that person has proven their expertise by answering questions.
Earning expertise is easy:
- Find questions in the areas you know
Browse questions to find categories familiar to you
- Answer those questions
Remember, private answers won’t help you earn expertise
- Every time the questioner picks your answer best, you gain a point of expertise
The more points of expertise, the higher you appear on lists of experts
So let me understand this… you aren’t a LinkedIn expert because you have expertise in anything, rather, you can earn expertise each time a “questioner picks your answer as best.”
You could be totally wrong, overly opinionated, or even have a weak argument or position, and still have the best response there. Oh wait, it’s not the best as judged by everyone, it’s the best based on the person who asked the question.
That person may be biased, or a dimwit. And you could still become an expert, as far as LinkedIn is concerned.
I have to say, I completely disagree with the person who hand-slapped me. LinkedIn Answers is a great place to ask for factual stuff, sure, but so is Google. I want to tap into my LinkedIn network to get opinions, positions, and experiences… none of which have to be from an expert. Some of the best answers out there are from people who are not experts, rather, they have their own personal experiences.
Also, I think you can see the flawed logic in LinkedIn’s idea of becoming an expert. But I kind of like it. I’m not head-over-heels in love with it, and if I see you are an expert my first thought is “oh, you just had enough “best answers” to become an expert, … maybe no one else answered good enough!” But it does show me that you had enough “good enough.”
I personally put more weight in the Recommendations than whether or not someone is an expert.
What do you think? Did you even know about LinkedIn experts before? Something you might aspire to?