I have dived into this social networking for several months now. Admittedly, I am referred to as a newbie. However, the principles about how to use and integrate these remains constant.
1) Decide that you need to market yourself. A long time ago I learned the time to prepare for getting a new job is not when you don’t have one, but when you are actively (and successfully) employed. The same is true for networking- don’t join or develop new professional networks when you need them; instead develop them each day with you people you interact with on current projects.
2) Choose your image – some network carry a certain stereotype. If you want to be seen as a hip young DJ – there are networks that have this connotation. If you are interested in being around professionals and other executives there are networks for these people as well. Do your research.
3) Stay involved. There is something to be said about starting something and then not following through. Join a network, participate and contribute. Technology makes it easy, choose your method find the tools and multiply your effect.