In what could be considered an ironic twist, the platform that took professional networking online now wants to help people network in person again.

Following an announcement that it was actively developing its own events tool in November of last year, LinkedIn is now officially launching the option, giving members the ability to create and organize event pages and facilitate in-person meet-ups via the professional social platform. The Microsoft-owned social media network announced Tuesday that it’s adding a new feature called Events that lets users organize in-person meetings.

The new feature, which goes live on Thursday in English speaking countries, lets users send out invites and gives attendees a place to search their networks for people they want to invite. This includes location, company, industry, and even school. Users can also allow their events to be searchable so that others can join the events.

display of new LinkedIn feature EventHub

You might remember a limited trial of the Events feature that launched about a year ago in New York and San Francisco. The types of events that LinkedIn said were created with this pilot launch included meetups, off-sites, training sessions, sales events and happy hours. We would expect to see these and other similar types being created in this launch, as well.

“Our data says that the chances of people accepting connection requests on LinkedIn increase 2X if they have attended a face-to-face meeting,” LinkedIn India’s head of product Ajay Datta said in a released statement.

At this moment, Events is free to use and is pretty limited in its first iteration. You can create an announcement and invite first-person contacts, but there is currently no way to promote the event outside of your own organic reach on the platform (and of course, wherever you might want to share the link outside of LinkedIn).

“Targeting is not the focus right now,” said Ajay Datta, the head of product at LinkedIn India. “Organic adoption is what we are looking for first before we look at anything else.”

There are some limitations with this initial launch. While users on the platform can layout their plans, there are currently no links to services to help you find and book out available spaces for your event. There’s no option to create ticketing or limitations on attendance numbers. However, you can include links to places where you can manage such things, such as Eventbrite.

create an event on the device of your choice with LinkedIn EventHub

This feature could help LinkedIn create an additional revenue stream in its business model. as well — or perhaps just provide another way to boost their existing revenue streams like premium memberships. It could even help pave the way to perhaps position LinkedIn (aka Microsoft) as an Eventbrite competitor soon.

If you consider LinkedIn’s professional networking focus as a brand, it’s a bit surprising that LinkedIn Events hasn’t already been a thing. But that’s a whole other discussion in itself. It should be noted that LinkedIn states that the feature is not yet available to all users – but anyone can join an event if they receive an invitation. LinkedIn went on to say that it will be making events more widely available in the coming weeks.

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