Photo: Erin EricksonBy Erin Erickson, ASBPE Chicago Board Member

Social media. It’s what sets apart the old, late-90’s dot.com era from what has affectionately become known as Web 2.0.

It is because of social media that we have Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, MySpace, etc. Social media, by definition, allows its users to be social without leaving the house or the office. You upload an image and a personal or professional resume and watch the people come to you. It’s sort of genius if you think about it.

ASBPE, like many other media industry groups, has hopped on the social media bandwagon. We have a LinkedIn Group, a Facebook page, a Twitter profile, even this blog is a foray into Web 2.0. In each group, we have a network of up to 100 people.

Social media is, however, what you make of it. Its active participants can find best practices, answers and even jobs. You read that right: jobs.

I know several friends who have received freelance work or job offers because they used LinkedIn to its full advantage. They might be in the minority, but their outcome begs the question: How social should social media be?

Would you — or should you — accept a “friend request” from a freelancer who may actually turn out to be a great writer? Would you — or should you — use LinkedIn’s database to find a freelance writer?

You can and you should. Why don’t you do it yet?