Scientists Find LinkedIn Endorsements Fight Depression

9 01 2013

LinkedIn

By Eric Jay Toll

©2013, Eric Jay Toll. All rights reserved.

Pushing that endorsement button for your friends, acquaintances, and the casually-known members of your LinkedIn network keeps you from depression. A new study by a group of scientists found that LinkedIn members who clicked dozens of endorsements were happier than those who had to manage unwanted endorsements.

The study found that those who spent time clicking skill endorsements – even when they barely knew their connection and had no knowledge of the individual’s skills or preferences – generated high levels of endorsephins in their brains.

“Endorsephins,” explained study lead Clarence Taragot, Ph.D., in a report issued by Columbian Pacifica University, San Rafael, Calif., “are a serotonin-related enzyme released when an individual is doing happy things on LinkedIn.”

The study followed several LinkedIn members who avoided unpleasant work spending most of the day clicking endorsement icons on the formerly professional-oriented networking site now undergoing a renaissance as a social media site for professionals. LinkedIn added endorsements as a knock-off to the Facebook-captured “like” button.

The recently-added feature confronts profile visitors with a challenging question, “Does (Profile name) know (skill)?” If the profile visitor clicks “yes,” the visitor’s avatar shows up on that profile page next to the endorsed skill. As more and more people endorse a LinkedIn member, endorsed skills are ranked by the number of people clicking the skill. The result creates a photo-collage bar graph on the profile page.

“We found that people would rather sit at the computer with a cup of coffee clicking endorsements than actually working,” reports Taragot. “The more the study participants clicked, the happier they became and the greater the effort they put into finding people or skills to endorse.”

Taragot’s study found a new substance in the brain, with levels rising as the endorser added more and more endorsements. “We gave participants profiles from people they didn’t even know, and found they would continue to endorse skills,” he explained. “Every five endorsements, we’d give them a fresh cup of hot coffee.”

The study determined that the chemistry of the participants and found this previously unknown enzyme responsible for the repetitive happiness. “We’re calling it an ‘endorsephin,’” Taragot said.

The study also followed LinkedIn members required to manually manage the rising tide of endorsements. The profile owners needed to individually hide and delete skills not applicable to their business objectives. The endorsement recipients—especially those who did not return endorsements—were found to be significantly more depressed than the endorsers.

“It’s obvious,” Tatgot’s study concludes, “people who endorse others are far happier than those who manage endorsements.”

A LinkedIn spokesperson would not confirm rumors that the social media site is adding badges for “top endorsers” and “most endorsed.” It’s reported that a new graph will appear ranking people by the number of skills endorsed to show which site members are tops in the world with a skill set.

No one at the company would respond to the rumor that a new Resume Timeline feature will be imposed on profiles beginning this summer. The timeline is anticipated as a blue horizontal line across the screen showing a point in a year denoting when the LinkedIn member changed jobs. At press time, there was no way to confirm that a “most job changes” badge and bar graph  to the LinkedIn features.

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Operator? Hello? Hello?

17 01 2010

Has anyone ever tried one of those phones in an elevator to see if they are answered somewhere? Long gone are the days when there was an actual brass box opened to reveal a phone. Now it’s an intercom. You push the button if the elevator stops and the door doesn’t open.

“Thank you for calling the elevator emergency hotline. Your call is very important to us. If you are stuck at a floor, press 1. If you are stuck between floors, press 2. If you are alone, press 3. If you are with others, press 4. If you are with others and everyone is losing their head and you’re keeping yours, press 5. Beep. You’re a head taller than everyone else.

“Thank you for continuing to hold. Your call is very important to us. All of our emergency operators are helping others stuck in elevators. Please stay on the line and the next available operator will assist you. Your wait time is approximately 3 hours. Have you considered elevator insurance from AIG. This new policy will pay you anytime you are stuck between floors in an elevator. Policies require no physical examination, no questionnaires, no blood tests. If you want to talk to a representative about elevator insurance, please press the pound key. You will not lose your place in the queue for emergency assistance. Our courteous insurance agents cannot help you with a stuck elevator, you must wait for our emergency service person.

“Thank you for holding. Your call is every important to us. The next available operator will be with you shortly. People stuck in elevators for extended periods of time are known to have serious mental impairment and post traumatic stress syndrome. The law offices of Gipsee, Trampe, and Theeves specializes in litigation finding deep pockets for elevator compensation. If you want to initiate litigation and for a news conference calling attention to you plight, press the star key now. You will not lose your place in the queue for emergency services.”

Someone suggested that I start with “Press 1 for English, Press 2 for Spanish.”

It reminds me of the vignette from Thurber’s “Carnival,” a play derived from some of his cartoons and New Yorker stories in the 1930s. In one scene, an older elevator operator is being let go for a younger elevator operator to take his place. Many don’t even know, let remember, that until well into the 1970s, many older buildings had elevators requiring operators.

Anyway, in the Thurber vignette, when the older operator realizes he’s grooming the younger elevator operator to take his place, he rushes into an elevator and “takes it up for one last time to show you what this old guy can do.” A crowd of building employees try to coax him down by calling on the elevator phone. The older man shouts, “I know what this is about, the young get the elevator and the old get the shaft.”





The new decade

6 01 2010

It’s a new decade, and that means it’s a time to refresh the spirit. For me, this decade means I’m starting the third half of my life. For the last four decades, I’ve worked for others. Now I’m following what I wanted to do … write. This week marks the kick-off of my website, www.EricTollOnline.com, and a full court press to begin generating business for my business.

Making the jump to self-employment is like walking off the edge of a cliff. It wouldn’t have been possible without a lot of encouragement from my existing clients, friends, and colleagues. It also, frankly, wouldn’t have been possible without a very interested book from www.WellFedWriter.com

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