I'm no expert on the subject of Social Media; I dabble. A lot. One method of connection serves me professionally very well: LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is not just Facebook for "suits", although it is that. It's my on-line Rolodex that updates itself, stays with me wherever I go, and provides me with leads, introductions, connections, shared interest and current events. Unlike my Outlook contacts list, it is not company property so if I should leave this place I would not be breaching ethics to use it to find my next gig and connect with former customers, if only for a recommendation. We're connected by more than just our job titles.
If we're connected, I know more about you than you're telling me just by reading your posts, reading your recommended articles, seeing where you travel, reading your blog and choosing my next book on the books that you read, and you know that much about me. I know you personally. And you know someone I want to meet, and if I ask nicely you'll introduce us. I can track current business to social media connections.
LinkedIn is not a massive ego trip for me. "Look, I've got more than 500 connections! Yay me!" Actually, I do have more than 500 connections, but here's the thing. I have personally met each one of them. I trust them with my professional Rolodex, and by accepting my invitation to connect, they have trusted me with theirs.
For this reason I don't ever accept invitations to connect from complete strangers. You shouldn't either. Watch this: Tyrrell on a Tangent: A Failed Invitation to Connect