It is surprising that LinkedIn has not introduced this feature earlier, and for now, it is limited in functionality and location. A select group of users in New York and San Francisco will be able to create public events with a look similar to Facebook’s events feature. You can invite people, see who else is attending and chat with people in the page feed.

There are some limits to the tool that are being worked through. For instance, you cannot yet create a private event, or a place to discover events, for now. Despite that, I am looking forward to testing this out and finding more opportunities to convert online connections to real life interaction. Social networks are always comprised of a mix of people you knew “IRL” before connecting online and people you may have met once, or not at all in person. LinkedIn often skews to the latter, so creating opportunities like this is an exciting evolution.

Moving loose online connections into real world interaction is a smart move for LinkedIn, especially as Facebook tries to make its platform more appealing for professional use.Click To Tweet

For brands and marketers, shows, conferences and annual meetings will all be ideal to help building relationships in your network. How often have you gone to a conference only to discover after that a connection in your social network was there? LinkedIn is now providing another way for you to connect at an event reception or during a break. You can arrange side meet ups for a group run in the morning or drinks in the evening.

The LinkedIn events tool will also provide one more network to extend exposure for your own meet ups outside of conferences. I could see a restaurant promoting a soft opening or an anniversary celebration to industry friends, writers and influencers. A professional association looking to draw new members can leverage the network of its own members to get new and relevant people to group gatherings.

Moving loose online connections into real world interaction is a smart move for LinkedIn, especially as Facebook tries to make its platform more appealing for professional use. I’m looking forward to strengthening connections with industry peers to share experiences and ideas. I plan to test it out for the New York Produce Show in December and will report back.

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