The goal isn’t to roam around on social networks handpicking friends. Instead, get involved with communities of interest, and grow these experiences and relationships BEFORE you need them. And remember, if you are building relationships strictly for business, they will have less impact. That’s because being part of relationships is what real people do.
When you enter a market, be a real person. Act like one, care like one, and feel like one. Those subtle signals, verbal and non-verbal, help people figure out how to react to you and see whether they should hand you any of their attention.
I've had a number of conversations with people on this issue in the last while. In the musical field, authority and influence often have very little to do with trust. Yet the world of Facebook and MySpace are threatening to overturn that order and replace it with a situation where demographics and recommendations rule the day.
How will this impact the world of the arts? Is the best route to professional success in classical music achieved by staying away from technology in the interest of privacy and getting recognized the old way, via cover letters, auditions, and interviews? Or is it more important to develop a large number of friends on Facebook and release your demos on MySpace?