LinkedIn is set to introduce a new audio feature which lets users engage in virtual events and “fireside chats” according to its product manager Jake Poses.
The professional networking site will roll the new feature out in beta this month. It plans to launch a video events feature in the coming months. According to TechCrunch, LinkedIn has been working on these features since at least last March as a way of rivalling audio social app Clubhouse.
Clubhouse was released in 2020 and gained a host of new fans during the pandemic who used the app as a way to connect with each other from home. Facebook, Twitter, Telegram and Discord all followed suit, creating their own versions of live conversation features to cater to demand.
Unlike Clubhouse, which started out with an air of exclusivity before opening its doors to all users last June, LinkedIn does not plan to have ticketed events for some time yet. It will initially encourage members of its creator community to get involved in hosting conversations, with the aim of expanding this to larger organisations in the future.
“Our philosophy is to put the organisers in control,” said product manager Jake Poses in an interview. “We want to make it easier to host virtual round tables, fireside chats, and more. Some may want the event to be more formal, or less formal. Some might want to communicate with their audience, to open up to the floor. We’re giving professionals interactivity and support.”
He said that moving from in person events to virtual events “is actually democratising and opening up access to many more people.”
There may be plans to introduce paid ticketed events down the line, although Poses confirmed to TechCrunch that this would not happen initially.
Last September, another LinkedIn spokesperson told TechCrunch that the site was “exploring options for payment in the events product based on feedback from event organisers.”
Its events product first launched in 2019 allowed site users to plan physical meet-ups and events. Since the pandemic and the shift to remote working, LinkedIn has come to focus more keenly on virtual events. Last Summer, it acquired virtual events platform Hopin and video creation start-up Jumprope.
Its LinkedIn Live platform also increased its engagement during the pandemic, with Poses noting to TechCrunch that annual virtual event creation has grown by 150pc over the last year, there has been a 231pc increase in LinkedIn Live virtual event attendees in the same period.
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