My sccholarly / social network is quite extensive. It includes several overlapping groups.
*My own departmental colleagues.
*Colleagues in other departments in my university. Poet-friends in town who aren't academics or who teach at other Universities.
*American poets and specialists in American poetry.
*Poets and critics in Spain.
*Colleagues from other universities (Hispanists). Some in my own field, others in related fields. Former graduate students.
*Bloggers, people I went to Graduate school with, miscellaneous face-book friends...
A chain can be weakest at its weakest link, but a network like this is weakest where it doesn't matter much, at the periphery. Obviously not every person in my network is a close friend. I might be counted by someone else as part of that person's network, but also very much at the periphery in some cases.
Looking at this part of my scholarly base, I see some areas of weakness. For example, I should know more Hispanists in my own subfield than I do, or have them like me more than they might. I don't get to see my friends from Spain all that often. But I imagine other people's networks are similarly uneven in their distribution.
Intellectual exchanges can be very rewarding. The network is a part of the scholarly base that is easy to overlook. The base is not just what you know, but who you know. The point is not that I am constantly calling in favors, but that I can ask someone a question when i need to, or perhaps help out someone else.