A graduate student writes:
I get the impression that blogs are on the whole having a deleterious effect on the balance of power in the profession. The opinionated know-nothings (and insincere posturers) that we now have to pay attention to that seem to have some influence on professional organizations, departmental policies, and professional events (e.g., the Gendered Conference Campaign) would never have had this much influence without the distorting effect of blogs/social media.
I don't share my correspondent's view of the GCC, but the general issue raised is a legitimate one that has occured to me and to others I've heard from over the last year or so. So what do readers think? After the poll runs for a few days, I'll open a discussion.
UPDATE: Alas, someone found a way to get around the Micropoll security devices, which are supposed to block multiple votes from the same IP. After around 1,200 votes, it was roughly 12% neutral, and about 42% positive (12% strongly positive) and 46% negative (about 15% strongly negative). After that, some one (or some group) began pumping up the strongly negative votes. In any case, one conclusion is clear: most readers think blogs have had some effect on the profession, but are divided on whether that effect is positive or negative. I'll run a discussion during the week.