Joining an online network (like CMF Ads, 9Rules or a particular group on Yahoo Groups) or social media (like Twitter or Tumblr) site is not enough. You can stick up a profile, add your links, write a bio with some likes and dislikes (some don’t bother with even that much). But, if you just leave it there it will be worth almost nothing. It gathers dust and is not even a decent backlink.
I am not suggesting you stop using social media and network sites. I am telling you to carefully choose those you will use. Select sites and media which appeal to you, which are easy for you to use (to navigate and understand technically) and which have an active community which you really want to become a part of and remain a part of over time. Online communities, networks and social media sites get a lot of new members but only a handful become active participants.
Some groups go out of their way to welcome new members, some just put up an automatic list of those who newly join. Others don’t even do that much any longer, they have learned the value of a new member is fleeting. The real place to put your time and energy is with the members who stay, who return and participate.
The people who stay and keep your community or network active are the ones to be valued. They bring life and communication and networking to what would be a dried up shell otherwise. The owner/ moderator can not keep a community vital all on their own. People who participate are gold!
Whatever your motive for joining a community or network or using a form of social media you need to become a part of the regular group who talk and get to know each other in order to get any benefit from being a member of the community. An abandoned profile is a waste of time and space for yourself as well as the community.
You may join many networks and communities and take a look around, see what there is to interest you. But, it will only be those you actively and regularly participate in that bring a real return on your time and effort. Only the active profiles get attention from the other active members in the community. It’s a return investment, cause they are looking for connections too, active connections to real people versus someone who came once or twice and then disappeared.