Before you make the decision to jump into social networking, brush up on your time management skills. What a sink-hole of time! How easy it is to follow one interesting thread of conversation or information until you're so far from the original query that you've forgotten what it was.
Face-to-face networking still has many advantages. Unlike on-line networking, in-person is self-limiting on the amount of time you spend. The event or activity is going to end at some point, reminding you that you've got to get back to the grind of getting paperwork done.