Social networking is the hottest subject area on the internet right now. Currently the most popular site for this by far is Facebook. A similar site, but one that is much more business oriented is LinkedIn.
Some sub-topics of social networking include the red-hot Twitter.
Sites like Facebook and LinkedIn can be used to help promote business. Most of them are well positioned within the search engines so topics you may write about will often have higher rankings than on your own website.
The general concept around Social Networking is that you create a mini-website usually consisting of your background, photos you want to share, sometimes what you are currently doing, and then threaded conversations with your ‘friends’ or colleagues.
TechRepublic has a good article on how to be careful however. See below. My opinion is you simply should just not mix a personal account and business account. Or better yet, use LinkedIn for your business networking and Facebook for your personal. If you want Facebook for both, simply setup two different accounts. As the article states, friendly conversations among your friends may very well offend a prospective customer or employer.
Even that note, Facebook has caused many a strained relationship. Remember, all ‘conversations’ you have with ‘friends’ are pretty much permanently available to anybody you might later invite so its very easy for someone you didn’t intend on reading it to see it.
Simply put, never say anything or post any photos that you would have any doubt about anybody seeing. Basically think of a conversation on Facebook as an article on your public facing website. If you keep that in mind, you are safe.
Also remember, even on your personal account, its not hard via search engines for outside people to find your name and what you write so be careful about anything deemed ‘offensive.’ If you have a private joke, use the old fashioned thing called a phone or at least private email (although you can’t be sure it won’t get forwarded so again be careful)