Getting to know fellow academics, especially more senior ones, can be very daunting. Lecturers and researchers are used to spending a lot of time in isolation working independently. The thought of going public and 'selling yourself does not seem enticing. However, it is easier than you think to begin to develop your own career-enhancing networks. Your PhD supervisor and examiners or if you are already in post, your mentor, are a great place to start. They will have been chosen to guide you because they are more experienced and in most cases they will work close to your field of interest. Ask their advice for ways of building up your own network of contacts. Also it is easier to approach someone unknown to you if you can mention the name of a mutual acquaintance.
If you are a postgraduate who is serious about a career in academia, or a more senior scholar wanting to develop one, you will surely be attending conferences on a fairly regular basis. There is no right or wrong number of these, some scholars stick to one or two a year, others seem to attend one a month! Conferences are the main way that academics network with each other, so do not miss out on these opportunities. If you are presenting a paper it gives others a chance to see what you are working on, and the informal sections of the programmed (such as food and drink breaks) encourage mingling and further discussion.
Although getting to know fellow academics can be very daunting, it is easier to begin to develop your own career-enhancing networks because your supervisor and examiners or your mentor will be a great place to start as they are more experienced and know more people, and conferences are the main way that academics network with each other.