The trouble with Facebook, Twitter and the lot is that they’re constantly changing. This is wearisome to those who use them and off-putting to those who don’t.
That said, you know you should take the plunge for the sake of your career.
Here’s a primer:
Facebook: Start with a personal page. You need only two things: an active email address—one you actually use—and a photo of yourself. No one wants to interact with faceless people, or your pets or kids.
You also need to know two basic things: a message is private (in theory), while a wall post (the prompts are “What’s on your mind?” or “Write something”) is public to friends and whoever else is allowed to see it. If you’re not sure whether you should post something, don’t.
LinkedIn: For now, this is the default career site for professionals.
It houses your résumé (with a more formal photo), features testimonials about your work and can become a launching pad for ideas. Making introductions is a snap.
Post the basics and start exploring. Something you might enjoy is clicking on the groups tab, joining “groups you may like” and dropping in on discussions.
Twitter: The beauty part here is that you can start out quietly following experts onand your industry as they share insights or lead you to useful stuff. It’s like hiring consultants for free. Once you get the knack, start tweeting and you’ll become a “leeter”—a leader who tweets.