That's the right mindset - the obnoxious guy I mentioned is just force-feeding their service to you. Had enough of those guys come to me after a concert with the only goal to sell themselves to me.To answer your question: if i woulf hit you up, it can be assumed i liked your music, and therefore would want to know more about you and your sight on music in the first place and get your social media links afterwards to follow you online. I don't hit you up out of the motivation "i need something from you".. its more of a "i want to know more about you"..
Going out there and meeting people seems to be very beneficial - it's all about relationships. Ideally you want an ongoing relationship with the people, and not a "one off" engagement.
I didn't study music, but other fields - and from there I can say that the conferences are not about learning, but about networking. A ton of those have dinners and lunch, and you often see people not attending the talks and go straight to the social stuff, learning about each other's research and project and pave the way for future collaboration. That way I got to work for a high prestige project in my non-music field.
In my opinion, studying or any kind of education is vital - but music is one of those fields where you can go far without that - but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't - any kind of education is good for you - but it doesn't guarantee you an income. Same as here in Switzerland there is a film scoring school that takes in 5-7 students each year. High quality education, a lot of time spend with instrumentalists and recording orchestras of various sizes. The main benefit? Getting to know filmmakers (in the same building) and instrumentalists (also in the same building) since also "outsourcing" work is strongly discouraged, you work with many people inside this house, building future relationships. Yes, you learn a ton considering composition and are competitive in that area afterwards, but I mean - when you need a live cello for a score - who are you gonna call? Some random cellist on fiverr, or "that cool guy with whom I recorded that short film and drank a nice beer after the session"?