One profound thing I will never forget from PodCamp Toronto is podcasting, and social media in general, is all about giving to the community. What you give to the community, you will get back in return.

This morning I was adding a connection and updating my profile on LinkedIn when I remembered that I haven’t yet checked out their “Answers” feature which I had been meaning to for a while.

As I read and replied to a few questions about viral marketing, I couldn’t help but hear those words again in my mind. Giving to the community. This is exactly what Mark Blevis, Bob Goyetche and Chris Brogan were talking about in their presentation on Return on Influence.

LinkedIn is often described as just a networking tool so you can find a sugar daddy for your startup or a new job without having to grease the HR at the door. However, LinkedIn is far beyond “just networking”. Through their Ask and Answer feature(s), we all have the opportunity to give to the community— offer our knowledge and expertise no matter what position we have in a company, or who the heck we are.

This morning for instance, I replied to someone’s question asking if a corporation would benefit from reaching out to bloggers or dismiss them as background noise.

Someone’s reply to a question regarding ideas on promoting a book was useful to me as I’ll be launching a book in the future.

If I met those two people on the street, I doubt they’d have given me the time of day. Not that they’re evil, it’s just that I’m some guy on the street vs. when I’m a professional helping them on LinkedIn. Maybe cold calling them would work in the real world but… I have my doubts.

As you give to the community, you’re networking and building connections. Others on LinkedIn can also tag you as an expert on a topic and there you are, you’re giving some more to the community.

[tags]LinkedIn, networking, PodCamp Toronto, social media, web 2.0[/tags]