The web is populated by two kinds of people: givers and takers. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people spend more time taking than giving. Worse still, the most of the givers fill the web with useless junk.
Successful internet entrepreneurs have the rare ability to create something valuable in the sea of garbage.
If you participate, engage in conversations, and create something valuable (good article, unique service, etc), you'll reap the rewards: the respect of your community, a loyal fan base, and a stream of new clients.
The same principle applies offline.
-- Rod Campbell (from my phone)