I've earned a reputation with my students and colleagues as being "the guy who makes you blog." I don't mind that, actually. As the new students get going on their open source work, I thought I'd make my point by showing some recent examples of why this is important.
First, let it be said that if you don't blog it, it's not happening. For the web to know about your work, you have to tell it. And, I know this isn't believed by everyone yet, but if you tell the web, the web will read it. "Nobody reads my blog" is a common excuse I hear, and it's 100% wrong. People may not read your blog every day, but they'll end up there because they do search, use Google Alerts, read digg, reddit, slashdot, boingboing, stumbleupon, whatever. You can't hide from the web. "Yeah? Prove it."
- Anthony is losing years off his life trying to get his XPCOM BirdTorrent extension to work. It's currently in a state only a mother could love, but it shows tremendous potential. Anthony knows that it's important to build a community around your work, so he blogs on his progress and does regular releases. People notice.
- Cathy releases c3dl 0.6 and blogs about what it can do. People notice.
- Nino polishes up his bug to get tel: link support added to Fennec, blogs about it, and people notice.
These are just examples from the past week, but I could go on listing examples. The point is simple: the web isn't something you use or something you read; it's something you create. You become a part of it by deciding to do so, and when you do, no one will argue with you about whether you belong.