There is this finding from some network analysis that smokers had the most interesting connections in a business organization--in the sense of having the interactional ties across different levels of the organization that made it more of a "small world"--because being driven onto the same huddled outdoor posts gave them various connections with fellow smokers that they would not otherwise have.* I've never smoked--despite strong familial patterns to the contrary, not one cigarette ever--so I can't vouch for the finding ancedotally.
Anyway, the point is that I've had more than one conversation in the last couple years where someone's name X has come up, and I say: "Sure, I know X." And the person asks, reasonably, "Why would you know X?" And some part of the answer, whether I articulate it out loud or not, is that the person either has a blog, has had a blog, or has commented on my blog, etc.. In other words, I've had interactions with people through blogging who, by usual mechanisms of social tie formation, I would have no especial reason to have any connection to.
I cannot be alone in this. Participation in blogging is relatively uncorrelated with what kind of sociology a person happens to do--more uncorrelated, I suspect, than smoking is nowadays--and where one is and has been located, so it lends itself toward forming intriguing ties. So, one gets the network benefits of smoking, without the icky carcinogenic aftertaste.
The other nice thing is the by-now-well-established pattern that, the present author excepted, the average person in sociology who has a blog or reads blogs seems to be more interesting and, well, "intellectually alive" than the average person who does not. (Don't tell the members of the latter group this, or at least don't attribute it to me, as they tend to be touchy about it and launch into the whole haughty "I have better things to do with my time [like watch television]" thing, etc., etc..)
* I should say I think this is an actual finding given the number of times I've heard people mention it, but I have no idea what the originating paper is.