Social networking is all about being social and networking – duh 😉 The question is: How do you do this; what does that mean? It means being active in the community; it’s saying thanks to people who vote your stories up; it’s responding to comments on your blog; it’s posting comments on other folks’ blogs. It’s starting topics of conversation and being a part of other conversations.
Be careful though, it is very easy to destroy your online reputation by being a jerk, so watch what you say. Don’t just go and type in your gut reaction to things like you would if you were having a conversation with someone. The same care and attention in crafting responses is required in social networks as in email, since the emotional cues that are present in in-person and over-the-phone interactions are missing in online communications. You have all the time in the world to make your communications and your online persona funny, witty, insightful, thoughtful, ingenious. So take that time. Ultimately, however, your true character is going to shine through – but this is a good thing!
Being honest and open with people is what will net you real friends – friends that if you happen to be in the same city will buy you a drink, show you around, or even put a good word in for you if you’re looking for a job. It’s these kind of real social media friends that will bend over backwards to help you out if they can. If you’re a freelancer or a business owner, they might even recommend you to people they know.
Just by being yourself in social networks you’ll find that you are making friends with people of similar interests and humor types – people with similar personalities that actually like YOU and not just your online presence.