In The quality of your network really matters I wrote about recent research into influencing behaviour through social networks. This research highlighted the importance of building close, strong ties to people in your network.
In his keynote at the F5 Conference earlier this year Malcolm Gladwell is quoted as Saying,
"If social media tools are going to make a meaningful commitment to the way our world is run you have to remember to build trust, to build institutions and to build strong ties."
Mark Smiciklas of the Intersection Marketing Blog regularly produces some great visuals in his articles. Here are the ones he used to illustrate the Malcolm Gladwell quote in his article on Malcolm Gladwell & The Future of Social Media a few months ago.
As I have written before,
"Success in networking (offline and online) comes down to building a manageable number of relationships amongst people with influence amongst the right audience. Then motivating that network to advocate you."