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Inch by Inch. I suppose you could say it has similarities to facebook so be careful with what you post. Start with basic and see who you know. It can be a link to potential contacts which are always hard to find otherwise.
I'm not sure what good it does. For me, it's sort of a NO-thing.
I got into it a few years ago with one of my foreign engineer friends requested a reference from me. I had coordinated his six-month compressor training when he was at our plant in the late 90's. We had become good friends. In any case, I had to join Linkedin in order to write the reference.
So, I occasionally get updates and "connections", from him and many others, most of whom I have no idea about. I suppose if that sort of thing helps you get a job, then it might be worth it. But, I don't really see that kind of thing going on and I don't use Linkedin as any kind of path to communicate or keep in touch with anyone.