While its true that Social Networking has a history of being a bit of a 'gamers and gossipers way of keeping in the know', it also holds some value for businesses.
How often have you met a friend of a friend (Fig.1) and found that you have a lot in common? Or needed some work done at home, and were able to get in touch with a friend who knows somebody that can do the job reliably for you? As a human race, we prefer dealing with people that we know, than pass the work on to an unknown untrusted person that we found in the local business directory.
Social Networking can be a powerful tool in enabling you to get to know the people that your friends know, and getting your business credentials across to a customer of a customer.
Its quite normal to join a social networking site and start finding people that have similar needs to your existing customers, or who you are not normally able to approach because they don't know you.
However, now that you have a common interest, a common friend, the door has opened for you to have the opportunity in extending your network in that direction.
So don't be afraid of the technology. It's a tool that will save you a lot of leg work and will open doors of opportunity.
A properly worked Social Network has the ability to work more effectively than cold calling on the telephone. So join, fill out your profile in the best way you can, and start meeting the people that might make a difference to your working life.