My last blog on Social Networking talks quickly about online things; blogs, twitter, facebook and ways to get yourself out there.
However, I think the most vital form of social networking is actually being able to go to conferences and meet face-to-face with agents, editors, and fellow writers. The only bad part about this is usually finances. Especially when you have car payments, children or pets to look after, student loans, and other various sources of debt. Conferences can range from $50-$1,000 and even higher up. That's not even including your airfare, travel, cabs, hotel, food, etc. For some, this isn't even realistic. So..start saving money. I'm about to tell you why you -need- to go to at least ONE conference.
AWP is the cheapest and must fundamental conference I have found (and has student prices, which is awesome). It was at this conference I met a role model, a literary friend (or several), and even got to speak with an agent. At the 2011 conference I also met a person who housed me in Washington D.C. so I didn't have to travel an hour each night and day. I also got free liquor one night after a panel :) I also met another person who is now willing to house me in Orlando, FL for Leaky Con's Lit Day.
Moral of the story is, at conferences, everyone is so approachable, because they're not the nameless, faceless person behind a computer rejecting you. They're friendly, they don't bite, and they want to get to know people, it's why they're there. They're there to help you in any way they can.
It can only start if you approach them and say "Hi, I'm (insert name here). What are you working on?" or something like that.
Talk, even if you don't know the person. Network. Be excited.