In the last decades, many international scientific associations have been created. Organizations such as AAAS, IEEE, ACM, involve thousands of scientists and professors that have similar scientific backgrounds and objectives.
However, besides technical and resource taks (such as providing documentation, articles, books, and organizing conferences) their aim is to push scientists closer, and let them connect with each other and network.
Concerning this last point, I've always wondered: yes, but how?
I'm member of several scientific societies, and I think I should take more advantage of my membership to connect with other scientists. But, anyway, except for conferences where we meet in person, how could I use my membership to get more connections?
How would you do? What's your experience? Are you member of some scientific associations? How do you take advantage of your membership in professional connections?
The best way to take advantage of memberships in professional societies—beyond attending conferences—is helping to organize them. This will get you in touch with the other people in your field who are at an early-career phase. (Older faculty typically don't need to, or are higher up on the food chain.) Organizing sessions is also a good way to learn your specialty better, and to keep abreast of who's working on what.
In the long run, it can also bolster your career by providing you with "synergistic" (or "service") activities that show you to be a good member of the research community, which is important for getting job offers and promotions.