I've had some people get in touch with me about wanting to get started with social networking sites, and wanting to link to me.  Some people will link to anyone that asks, and taht is certainly one way to work things.  I would rather link only to people I know pretty well.  This increases the trust that people have in my referrals, since I can say more about the person asking for a referral than "He emailed me about linking on LinkedIn". 

So if you are interested in starting to use LinkedIn or another social networking site, I suggest the following steps:

  1. Register for the site
  2. Fill out all the biographical information you can
  3. Import your Outlook or personal email address book
  4. Find people that you have worked with that are also on the system (you will usually find at least a few)
  5. Send invitations to these people and get linked
  6. Encourage your associates to join by using your address book to send invitations
  7. Sit back and admire your social network as it grows

LinkedIn provides all the tools you need to perform these steps, and is my site of choice.  So get on LinkedIn and give it a try; the more people on the site, the better it is for all of us!