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LinkedIn expands posts to lure visitors

– LinkedIn is hoping to unleash more wisdom on its professional networking service by giving its 277 million account holders more space to share their experiences and insights.

A feature that rolled out Wednesday will free LinkedIn users from restrictions that have limited posts to a maximum of 300 characters. Those limits had been in effect since the service began allowing status updates in 2009.

LinkedIn users will now be able to share essay-length musings about their industries or jobs. The lengthier posts will be displayed only within the author’s network of LinkedIn connections, but it could be distributed to a broader audience if the content is popular among its initial audience.

“This will allow people to showcase who they are professionally,” said Ryan Roslansky, LinkedIn’s head of content products.

The option to share lengthier pieces initially will be confined to users posting in English, though LinkedIn Corp. may introduce the feature in other languages.

The expansion is part of LinkedIn’s efforts to build upon its 10-year-old service’s role as a digital Rolodex. The Mountain View, Calif., company has steadily been adding more features to entice LinkedIn’s account holders to visit the service even when they aren’t looking for a job or adding an accomplishment to their resumes.

LinkedIn’s calling cards include an “Influencers” section, introduced in 2012, that offers advice from business luminaries such as Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson. Several new contributors, including CNBC host Suze Orman and Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman, are being added to that elite class, which consists of about 500 people.

By allowing all its account holders to write longer posts, LinkedIn believes it will generate more helpful information about the 147 industries covered by its service.

If the service can bring back its users more frequently, LinkedIn will have more opportunities to sell advertising.

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