You know how you have that "Skills and Endorsements" section on your LinkedIn profile where people can say you're good at "Synchronized Swimming" or the like and you can choose to display it and show people what you're the best at? The functionality is sometimes handy, it can be good to get an idea of what people are most endorsed for - but wouldn't it be great if you had that same functionality with your friends? Maybe you could tag your friends for not only their skills, but also their personal traits, like "Really Good Hair"?
If that sounds good to you, you're in luck - Facebook is testing a new endorsements feature for users which will allow them to display various tags on their public profile.
Originally reported by The Verge, the new tags are being tested on some profiles in New Zealand, with no word on a wider roll-out at this stage. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the tests to The Next Web, saying:
"In addition to the standard ways of letting people know who you are on your Facebook profile, profile tags let you express your identity in a more informal way. We believe that friends can also add a unique perspective to who you are and what makes you special that you may not even think about putting on your profile.
For example, when you introduce friends to each other, you might share a unique characteristic or something they might have in common, like "...Connie is an avid cyclist too!"
This strengthens bonds between friends and helps Connie's new friends learn something interesting about her. Now you can do this on Facebook too: compliment your friends, make your friendship even stronger and help others learn interesting and fun facts about your friends."
The proposed process for tags is the same as on LinkedIn - you can either set up tags yourself, or friends can tag you. Once a friend has assigned a tag to you, you receive a notification prompting you to review it - if you approve, it's displayed on your profile, if not, it's gets deleted. Or you can just ignore it. Once tags are active on your profile, friends can "Like" each one, and they'll be displayed in descending order, with your most liked one at the top.
Profile tags are an interesting addition, and definitely there is potential for them to add to the wider Facebook experience. They're also not going to be a requirement, they're an optional add-on either way so the risk to user-experience is pretty low. Some users will no doubt disapprove of there being yet another thing they can receive notifications of, but I suspect most will see the addition as an interesting way to increase connectivity. Or they'll dismiss it, ignore it, and move on. The idea that anyone can tag any of their friends with anything could be fun too - you can tag friends as being the "Worst at Impressions" or "Best at Connect 4", as opposed to the professional tags you see on LinkedIn.
Overall, tagging functionality provides another way for users to express a side of themselves via their Facebook presence, and for friends to share their endorsements in a new, public way. There's always the risk that tags could be misused - even with the user being in control of approving what does and doesn't get displayed, they'll still receive notifications of any tags assigned to them, and those could focus on offensive or critical traits. But anti-abuse controls remain in effect across all Facebook elements, and only friends can tag you either way, so you'd expect this to be a lesser concern.
And as highlighted by Facebook, shared interests are a powerful connective device - adding another way to raise awareness of these could be significant, in regards to facilitating wider interaction.
What do you think? Would you add tags to your profile or look to add tags to your friends'?