What are the three best methods for networking? - Barking up the wrong tree
Eric Barker stashed this in Networking
Not surprisingly, I'm a big fan of Reid's Rules of Networking and I practice them regularly: http://pandawhale.com/convo/422/reids-rules-of-networking
These rules boil down simply to: What you get out of it is what you put into it.
Altucher has several variations on this theme as well: http://pandawhale.com/convo/290/be-a-super-connector
Suster has his own version of this as well: http://pandawhale.com/convo/197/you-can-make-progress-in-anything-with-50-coffee-meetings-get-started-msuster
Ultimately you have to think of it in terms of what you have to offer to the other person to make it worth their while to spend time with you.
I also agree that the best first step is to find someone on Facebook or LinkedIn that you haven't talked with in a while, and talk with them: http://www.bakadesuyo.com/is-it-worth-reconnecting-with-old-acquaintanc