I am by no means an expert on this subject, but I can say that there is tremendous value in getting involved. No, I am not talking about Facebook or Twitter, although I do use the latter for real time conference updates. I find LinkedIn and Google Alerts to be something I use on a daily basis. That may seem impossible for you to do, given your daily schedule, but its all a matter of priorities.
Based on my experience over the past 2+ years whether you are technical or business I dont see how you can afford to not at the very least create a LinkedIn profile and set up a couple of Google alerts that match your areas of interest. I have laser scanning and LiDAR alerts set up. You may also want to join a coupled of LinkedIn groups. If after 30 days you dont find enough value then you can adjust accordingly.
In addition to creating your personal profile and building your contact list LinkedIn has recently added a section where you can profile your company. This is still in beta, but I have to believe this is a must.
This is the classic case of "you won’t know unless you try".