Connections on LinkedIn, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, LinkedIn, Linkedin endorsements,, New York City High School of Performing Arts, piano, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, wordpress,

How to win Friends and influence People on LinkedIn


After a major workout at the gym this afternoon, I sat down at my computer, flooded by waves of LinkedIn “endorsements.” A new gush of approbations encompassed bird-watching, percussion, band conducting, coin-collecting, baby-sitting and chess-playing. Was I in the midst of a mega makeover not of my choosing?

I felt guilty about being showered with praise for my non-existent skills and hobbies, so I fired back “endorsements” to senders, blindly tapping any and every reciprocal sphere of activity in sight whether it applied or not to my so-called “connections.”

For my former Amtrak train buddy, “Tim,” who’d spent the better part of 3 hours troubleshooting web problems at, I tapped in a “pet-loving” endorsement (after all, he’d raised three cats, two, eaten by coyotes) Another prompt whizzed onto the screen testing my eye hand/coordination skills. Why not mouse click, “knows about jet engine repair.” I’d vaguely remembered Tim having delivered a mega-complex analysis of what happened to the Airbus A320 that crash-landed safely on the Hudson River and how the Canadian geese got stuck in the engine. Oops the “bird-watching” endorsement just evaded me, slipping quickly into the “diaper-changing” universe. Why not go for it, since my traveling companion had often boasted about his new grandson. Surely, he’d aced the skills necessary to keep the infant dry and comfortable.

NO sooner than I’d clicked this warm and fuzzy endorsement, another popped up, pertaining to a complete stranger. How did an “Australian Alligator trainer” land in my Network? (Friend? acquaintance? business associate? High School classmate? friend of a friend, employer?) In a mega memory recall effort, I mind-snatched the “connection” to an Aussie Online piano student who had an Engineering degree.

Quickly I tapped “knows Calculus” before my computer flashed “media/communications,” and “shrimp farming”–what the heck, it was the thought that counted not whether these latest skills on the rifle range of choices were a perfect fit for the latest in-or-out-of network newcomer.

In either case, my “connections” were spiraling out of control while my SQUARE of endorsements was bulging at the seams.

Suddenly, a new round of endorsements catapulted onto the screen. A Hindu Elephant vet and a New York City Bank President endorsed me for “fashion design,” and “face-painting” while I snapped back “knows Farsi,” and “rips people off.” Oops, wrong endorsement! How could I delete the last one, before I’d earn an instant “dis-connect.”

My PROFILE PAGE rhombus of skills was surely headed for a fatal blow with a falling dominoes effect!

OMG! My NYC High School of Performing Arts Math Teacher, “Shirley Katz,” had just become the latest “connection,” endorsing me for “horseback riding” and “pizza-pie-making.” True, I’d aced the Intermediate Algebra Regents, which nourished my skills to carefully measure out cups and half-cups of flour; teaspoons and tablespoons of olive oil, but I hadn’t saddled up on a horse since I was 6 (at the Van Cortlandt Park Bronx trail) And I nearly got kicked in the face by a Palomino when I wasn’t looking.

Without a second thought, I shot back three consecutive endorsements for KATZ: “knows diplomacy,” “has more passes than flunks,” and “shows up at all Performing Arts High reunions.”

Finally, these endorsements gelled with the right person and I was thankfully off the hook. To cut my losses and preserve my gains, I shut down the darn computer and headed for the piano where I felt really CONNECTED!