My first blog entry was about being a lager, or one who lags behind. I bring this up because I just joined LinkedIn which is an online networking website that helps professionals connect with others. I was asked to join once before but never got around to it because I didn't feel I wanted to have one more account to check in on. But starting my own business has made me reconsider and join the thousands of others connecting this way.
It's great because it's free and fairly easy to use. You just have to set up a profile and then start inviting people to connect with you. Many people in my circle of contacts I already have were on LinkedIn as well. Many of them connected with me immediately. You can also invite people who don't have a profile or account yet. These folks would simple have to sign up to join in.
My main question about networking this way and joining things like Facebook and LinkedIn is how much time will I spend on line building my network. I'm also somewhat cautious about how much information to share. But, I guess one must just use common sense and use it for what it is worth.
I figure that you probably get out of it what you put into it, just like many other things in life. With that being said, it may take some time to get the hang of it and find the right balance between reaching out to people and just going with the flow and being open to opportunities as they present themselves.