About six months ago I got an e-mail from a colleague inviting me to join something called “LinkedIn.” I had never heard of it, and suspected that it was spam or phishing or some other new thing that sounded like food. I was quite leery, but my colleague assured me that it was a legitimate vehicle for virtual networking with past and present contacts. Given that I am a social animal and consider networking one of my core competencies, I signed up. (Yes, it was free.) The engine behind the ...

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