Whether you accept that "Twitter is your resume" or you think that the new social tools are stupid; the fact is they exist and the work world will never be the same. As I mentioned in the previous post, I believe that the work world is changing and that our online presence is going to start to influence our ability to earn an income.
I am no expert but I admit to participating in many social networks. I use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family, and to follow people/businesses I am interested in through their "Pages". I don't friend people I don't know on Facebook and I have my privacy settings set fairly high. I don't really understand LinkedIn although I do know it is where business people hang out. I can't find many of my university graduating class on Facebook (baby boomers are just discovering Facebook now), but most of them seem to be on LinkedIn. Or at least they have a profile - they don't seem to be using it much. I admit that I love Twitter. Twitter is the best cocktail party in the world and you can wander around and listen to snippets of conversations (tweets) by interesting people (whoever you follow). I think that my schizophrenic twitter feed is a sign of my mental health!
If you are starting to feel like you need to participate online somewhere, here are a few rules of thumb and a few websites that I found helpful. First, when you start to read blogs remember to "lurk, learn, and then leap". I cannot remember where I got that advice but it is good advice that basically means - don't start commenting right away. Read the blog, read the comments, and then engage in the conversation. Each blog has a style and you want to learn that style before you start adding to the conversation.
Another thing to remember is that just as you wouldn't meet someone at a party and then ask them to help you move the next day; you don't join a conversation online in any form to simply promote yourself or ask for favours. In simple language, that's rude behaviour. The biggest mistake you can make on Twitter is to use it solely as a way to advertise yourself or your business. Twitter is about being engaging; it is not an advertising platform.
If you want to start using LinkedIn I found this article to be helpful. If you want to learn about Twitter, then check out this article. Remember that Twitter and LinkedIn are much more public than Facebook (again depending on your settings) so keep in mind the rule that you should never post anything that you wouldn't want written on a billboard!
Creating your online presence is the start of managing your personal brand. Good luck!