Facebook and Academic Networking

I’ve done it, finally: I’ve joined Facebook.  So friend me or whatever it is (shouldn’t it be “befriend”?  Perhaps not, since we’re already, presumably, “friends”).  Anyway, I took the plunge for two reasons:

1) I had three “friend requests” sitting in my e-mail in-box, and I’ll do just about anything to clean out my inbox.  Go ahead, blackmail me.

2) A friend (and brilliant historian) suggested on his blog that Facebook was a good academic networking tool.

Okay, I’ll bite: how is Facebook good for academic network building, exactly?  Right now, I’m just trying to avoid friend requests from high school classmates and avoid embarrassing photos.  Am I supposed to be posting my latest book reviews?  Or should I try to “friend” hot-shot academics?  “Dear Professor Wilentz, will you be my friend?”  (He’d probably decline the offer).

Bring me into the early 21st century, people.