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LinkedIn adds events to make it easier to network IRL

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LinkedIn wants to make it easier to meet up IRL.

The company is launching a new events feature, which lets users arrange offline meet-ups to compete with platforms like Meetup. 

The feature is pretty similar to Facebook events. You create an event, fill in the relevant details such as the time, location, and a brief description. From there, you can invite people you’re connected with on LinkedIn and share it in your feed. 

When you’re invited to an event, the invitation will appear in the same tab where you see new connection requests. And everyone who marks themselves as attending can chat with one another on the event’s main page.

LinkedIn's new Events feature.

LinkedIn's new Events feature.

Overall, the feature is pretty limited. For starters, it’s only available in New York and San Francisco as part of an initial pilot program. There’s also no way to create private events or much of a discovery process to connect you with events you might be interested in. LinkedIn says it plans to add these features and expand to all users “in the next few months.”

Basic though it is, the feature makes a lot sense. It’s actually kind of surprising the self-described largest professional network didn’t have any kind of native events feature before now. Instead, people would either have to use workarounds like group messaging, or link to outside platforms like Meetup.

“We have seen behavior where people are using the platform to organize meet-ups and they will add a bunch of folks to the comments and tag them and hose folks will in turn invite more,” says LinkedIn product manager Ashu Dubey.

It’s also another sign the company is increasingly focused on enabling connections offline. Last year, LinkedIn began experimenting with Snapchat-like video filters for live events. That feature still hasn’t had a significant expansion, but it was one of the first signs the company was dipping its toe into features pegged to real-life events. 

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