I enjoy blogging, but I have recently had some more tangible evidence of the value of blogging.
First, we recently went through the process of hiring a tenure-track professor. One of the applicants told my colleague at an interview that they had been reading my weblog. Because the applicant still decided to show up for the interview, I am viewing this as a positive effect (at least, not too much of a negative effect) of my blogging.
Even more concretely, I was recently put in contact with Andy Rundquist, a physics professor who is interested in many of the same pedagogies as I am (I believe that Jason Buell may have virtually introduced us; I am coming to believe that Buell is some sort of Gladwellian Connector).
Andy teaches at a college just 90 minutes from mine, and we had a chance to have lunch yesterday. I picked his brain on a whole number of topics, including how he creates his screencasts. Andy (and his children) were delightful.
But the point is…today is a snow day for us, so my classes were canceled. I had planned to give my students some definitions to use on some assignments, but I could not longer do so in class.
Of course, my conversation with Andy was still fresh in my brain, and so I decided to create my first screencast. It was shockingly easy to do, and I have already had one student email me to say how helpful it was (I just sent the screencast an hour or so ago).
The point is: if not for blogging, I would not have met Andy. If not for Andy, I would not have thought to create a screencast. If not for the screencast, I would have lost one day in an already-tight semester.
So thank you, Al Gore, for creating the internet.