Yesterday, I pointed out that you must give first. The nice thing about giving in the online world is that it is - I think - easier to do than in person. I'll have some ways to do that later in this series.
First, here are a few more aspects of networking that are even more important in the online world:
- Developing a positive reputation. If you really turn someone off or burn them, they can inform their entire complement of friends with just a few well-placed words. I'm sure it's happened many a time in the "kiddie land" of social networking (My Space) and sadly even in the more professional realms. Behave professionally to safeguard your reputation. And it doesn't hurt to set a Google alert for your name.
- Connecting other people. That is one of the reasons for the whole social networking thing. Every site has prompts, reminders, and systems in place to help you find people you know, may want to know, and should refer to others. By refusing to be part of the introduction and connection scene, you label yourself as being... not very social.
- Be consistent. In fact, don't even get on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn if you're not going to check it every day. It makes you look worse to have an abandoned profile than to not have one at all.