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I found this great blog entry by Michael Specht about 10 ways to build your network. If someone mentioned the word social networking 10 years ago you would probably think of a room full of sales people passing business cards out. Things have certainly changed.
With the advent of Web 2.0 technologies we are now able to expand our networks exponentially and tailor them to the purpose we need (whether it is fact finding, looking for jobs, looking for candidates, research, personal, etc….).
With networking these days, I find the best way to effectively network is to reach out to both your online and real life communities. So yes – being on LinkedIn, Facebook, etc… is a good way to network but there are still relationships that will be formed and developed only by meeting someone face to face. I think by combining the two and not just relying on your online or real network it will give you the best chance for success.