Social networking sites are a hot trend and becoming ever more useful for entrepreneurs and small businesses, according to Xeni Jardin in an article at MSNBC.com:"...there is growing evidence to support claims that some social networking services ... can be a powerful professional ally to businesses -- in particular, independent entrepreneurs and smaller companies, for whom each new personal connection is a significant business building block.LinkedIn and ZeroDegrees are two of the more popular services that facilitate business-oriented connections...."The article goes on to describe some of the uses that entrepreneurs have made of social networking sites: developing new sales prospects; researching companies you want to do business with; and job hunting and employee recruitment. Via Boing Boing.I use two of the social networking sites for business purposes: Ryze.com and LinkedIn.com. I have made dozens if not hundreds of new connections through them. But you know my most valuable tool for developing business contacts online? It's this blog. It has opened the door to countless new connections, all over the world, with you, dear readers. My experience is right in line with the prediction of Scott Rafer, President and CEO of Feedster, who in the future sees social networking sites integrating with blogs.