If you want to get overwhelmed by the subject, visit Wikipedia’s list above. Yikes!
But suffice it to say, there is, no doubt, a social network for whatever industry you’re in or hobby you have.
Some of you may have heard of include Plaxo, Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn. I’ve joined a couple because clients have asked me to, but I wouldn’t otherwise.
1. I don’t actively seek work (as a rule),
2. I have all the real friends I need, as opposed to virtual or online friends,
3. I don’t like to share any more personal info than necessary (unless you’re sitting in front of me, in which case, I’ll happily tell you my entire life story, including the 4 elopements and holding JFK’s death certificate.)
However, if you have a business, especially a new one, I suggest LinkedIn and probably Facebook. LinkedIn is for business and is kind of like networking. It’s good for finding resources that your colleagues or friends may have worked with in the past and for getting your business in front of more people. I think it’s more for professionals than retail companies, but that’s just me.
Facebook I’m not as familiar with (even though I have a page there), but I’ve noticed a lot of companies have their own Facebook pages so it’s worth looking into.
Of course, the point of any of these, for my clients at least, would be to have yet another place on the web where people can learn about them/their business/their product. Blogs can serve the same purpose which is a minor reason why I do this one. I do it mostly so I can point clients to a particular article when they ask a question I’ve answered here.
Update: Twitter is also a good thing to do if you have a product line that changes frequently.