Now, getting back to my original point...does any of this social networking actually help you in the career advancement world? Yes, I think getting back in touch, and staying in touch with people can help advance your career. It's certainly better than doing nothing at all, of course. I always tell people that if you are interested in a new job, you should let people know. As far as creating opportunities generally, the social networking sites will help put you in the mind of some former colleagues/classmates who otherwise might not think of you.
Case in point. Just recently, I needed a local counsel in a different part of the country. I could ask my colleagues for recommendations and I did that. I thought for a minute. Do I know anyone who practices in this metropolitan area? This is a matter for a very important client and I want someone I know and can trust. I didn't think I knew anyone in this area. But then the light bulb went off. Someone from law school who I am Facebook friends with does practice in the area. And his postings occasionally talk about court -- so I know he litigates locally. I called him. He answered...and it looks like he and his firm may end up serving as our local counsel. Without Facebook, I would not have thought about him. He may very well end up getting a significant referral from this, and possible follow up work.
I can talk more about social networking for job searches in another post but wanted to touch on this recent connection before it slipped my mind.
For those who have come back to HP's Office blog as I've returned....thank you.
(btw, no, right now we are not hiring 3Ls or entry level associates).