Jason Alba, author of I'm on LinkedIn -- Now What?, gives Wired's How-To Wiki advice on how to use LinkedIn for something other than esteem-boosting connection counting. One of the keys is stepping away from the monitor if you want to make contact with somebody in a contact's network—in other words, use that old-fashioned phone to get ahead.
... LinkedIn "isn't the place to nurture a relationship. It's a place to find and be found. But once you find them, go outside the system." Meet up in person to complain about coworkers ... and you build face-to-face relationships that are stronger than any virtual connection.
Sound advice—no editor I know is going to hire a writer based on how great their online profile looks, and other businesses likewise still thrive on face time. Have any of our readers gained real, solid business advantages from LinkedIn or other social networks? Let's hear about it in the comments.