I noticed an interesting phenomenon around my office. Several of our group participate in Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media. There was no "type" represented in the way this group spread. They represented a real cross-section of early adopters/non-techie, male/female, all ages, different job functions. Often when I discuss social media, people are quick to say the tools are natural for a certain generation, those under 30, etc. It's easy to compartmentalize people and say that social media naturally exempts some individuals. The only group with a real exemption are those without regular access to a computer or mobile phone, which is a relatively small percentage in the professional/student areas.
The phenomenon I picked up on was that those who chose not to participate were missing out on quite a bit. Most people would not hesitate to point out the importance of attending office parties, talking to people casually in the break room, etc. These informal relationships are the same within online communities, although they run much deeper. I know a great deal more about most people I interface with via social media than I ever would from casual conversation.
On that same note, you are getting "face time" with a boss or supervisor every time they interact with you, view your profile, see your updates, etc., on Facebook or other services.
Too much emphasis has been placed on the negative aspects of social media. If you use these tools in a smart and social way, they can and will actually help you in your work life*.
*I realize also that many of your companies may block social media as a category(they are wrong to do this, btw), but don't let that be your personal excuse. Participate anyway. It only takes a few minutes a day to update a profile and see what your friends are up to. Most likely you will appreciate the extra layer this adds to your life.
Photo gracias: Hallie M.