Social media has been compared to many different topics, such as baseball, high school, dating -- even Ironman! Today, we add a comparison to fly-fishing.

Fly-fishing is deceptively complex -- what looks like a guy or girl flailing arms and fishing line around is really a well-coordinated effort to get a near weightless fly in front of a hungry fish. Just like social media! My sporadic blogging, LinkedIn network updates and drive-by Tweeting looks chaotic, but is all part of my personal branding plan.

Before you begin, you need to decide where you fish. Will it be a large lake or ocean (Facebook or LinkedIn), a fast-flowing river (Twitter) or smaller streams and brooks for a specific species (like for human resource pros)?

Next, you need the right equipment. Your fly rod and reel act as an extension of your arm, creating mechanical leverage and are critical to the sport. You wouldn't fish without rod and reel, and neither should you attempt social media without complete profiles (including your photograph) on sites like the aforementioned LinkedIn, and on others appropriate to your industry.

Along with the right equipment comes skills in your fly presentation -- how delicate or deliberate you deliver your fly makes all the difference, much like knowing what value you add to the world (your tagline or personal brand).

To catch the right fish, you need the right type of fly. The same could be said for social media. Knowing which type of person you're appealing to requires the right lure. Will you use a weighted nymph, to get your fly below the surface noise and present it to a fish lurking in the deep (potential prospects)? Or a streamer, swimming it through the currents to attract fish on the move (social networking)? Or will you use the most delicate of all presentations, the dry fly, where matching the hatch is critical to success (job search)?

No matter where you fish, or what you fish for, always bring along your net (personal blog) -- you never know what you might catch!

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