Social networking is not just the future, it's right now. And there's a ton of agents who are jumping on sites like ActiveRain here or Facebook and countless others. However I'll warn a lot of you, if you take a straight-laced and professional approach to it, you'll be making a big mistake, here's what I mean:
Be yourself, share your opinions, put up photos of your family, or pets, or travels. Tell lame jokes from time to time, rant about something that annoys you that isn't industry specific. Basically, be human. The modern consumer wants an experience, and they want to know you better than just a person who emails them with listings and shows them around town.
People want to know about you, and sites like Facebook and others allow you to do so. I've seen a lot of agents get a Facebook page and then just post listings, no personal information, and their page is very basic with canned information. If a consumer opens up your social networking page and all it talks about is the type of service you'll provide them and it says nothing else, then you're wasting your time with the site, because most people will skip over you.
Use these to connect with your friends, fellow professionals, and past clients as well. I'm in the Buffini system for those of you who know what that is, it means I'm contacting people I've worked with on a monthly basis. Social networking sites allow me to keep in touch, and stay updated on my former clients, my friends, and my associates in a much easier format than note cards, phone calls, and "pop-bys."
Now I can fall victim to this as well, in fact I've got to get rid of the business card photo on my Active Rain account, however for those of you venturing into what is referred to as "web 2.0" you need to show consumers a personal side of you, I cannot stress that enough.