Back in those strange days when I worked at Microsoft there was a concept of giving and receiving kudos. This wasn’t a soft skills thing that encouraged people to face the fear and start giving rich and rewarding feedback to one another. Kudos was a system that allowed for the automation and measurement of the giving and receiving of praise. It was stuff like the Kudos system that made me realise that I was never going to fit culturally into the Redmond beast in the dying days of the Ballmer regime.

In LinkedIn, which of course these days is now owned by Microsoft, I’ve begun to notice that I have loose connections with whom the only communication is of the form of those automated congratulations for new jobs and anniversaries. You know the kind of thing – “Congrats on your work anniversary!”

I mean, “Congrats”? The send is so lazy that they can’t even be arsed to complete the full word in an automated message. Is this the future of communication? Is this where we are heading?

I get a lot of these types of messages because I don’t have a “traditional” employment model so at any given time I have probably half a dozen “jobs” on the site that’s like Facebook but without the fun.

Well, today it got worse. It got worse than I could have imagined.

A few weeks ago I received a notification on the platform. Now don’t get me started on the dark patterns that riddle LinkedIn these days – on the Android app you get a “notification” but no detail whatsoever about what that notification might be. Grr.

Anyway, the notification suggested that I should “Take a moment to recognize co-worker Klaus“. Now obviously I tweeted a sarky comment picking up on the ambiguity of the language used, and commented that “Yep, that looks like Klaus to me!”, but what had just happened was that I had had my first taste of LinkedIn Kudos. The automation of praise and recognition on a global scale.


Oh yes. We now have the ability to post tacky, moronic bullshit at will, inter-organisation.

Now I fully accept I might just be being a grumpy bastard, but this feels to me to be something that needs to be stopped. It’s horrid beyond words! We are automatically limited to only 3 pieces of praise per week! Praise can only be offered in pre-determined categories… Jeez.

Nothing says “thank you” like an automated message.

4 thoughts on “Kudos where kudos is due

  1. I do have a particular loathing for the LinkedIn notification on Android too, more often than not it’s just the daily news bit instead of something useful.

    I choose not to put those kind of changes in my feed because of the canned responses people leave. It wouldn’t surprise if they started adding merge fields to those messages so it can add some more detail for you.

  2. I like the idea of nudges, so the occasional “thank someone who helped you today” isn’t all bad, but I think that’s where it should stop. A nudge to encourage behaviour is okay, an automated “the system does it for me” is far from useful. It doesn’t give either party the happy feels.

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