But in reality it's anything but this. Social media is just a tool to connect with others who share your interests so that you can communicate with them. It's not unlike a phone, actually. (That's why it's so apt that so many people use their iPhones to participate in it.)
Ultimately it's a human process, mediated by technology. Remember that and you'll get into it much quicker, I believe.
And speeding up the process is helpful because social media is not like other forms of online promotion (like say, pay per click search marketing). You do have to persist for a while before you start to see any benefit. It's going to take months at least (maybe even a year or more) before you get some sales either directly or indirectly from it. And because it takes so long, many people do give up after a while.
That's why it's important to keep at it at least until you've connected with some people, had some good conversations, and received some reactions to what you're sharing. Do this and you'll really start to "get" it.
Apart from anything else, knowing that you're starting to make an impact on the site will give you an ego boost. You'll keep going to receive more of that attention. Many people are hooked even at this point.
That said, if ego were your only motivation for participation, that wouldn't be too healthy! Still, it shouldn't be discounted. And if that's what drives you to keep at it -- particularly in the early stages -- then so be it.
Others might not catch the social media bug so easily. They can see potential in it. But they need more convincing and hold back from getting right into it. All I can say to these people is that you should keep going regardless because it's definitely a cumulative process.
I know this from personal experience. The longer you persist, the better. You end up on lists; more and more people see your handle in retweets and mentions; you have all those updates out there to be found. After a while you'll have a big, and inexorably expanding network of quality contacts.
Of course how you use these connections is up to you. But it's so important to keep building them and expanding your social media footprint. Persistence is paramount. That's why it's ideal if you don't need any urging, and the whole thing is a buzz as opposed to a chore.