I have been a professor for over 30 years. Some students like me, and some couldn't care less about me.
I believe it has to do with politics. They like my overall view of the world, or they don't. The ones that do, want to know what I have to say. Right now, politicians in Iowa want the hearts and minds of the Iowans. My son studies there, but he is not an Iowan yet, the majority belong to previous migrations - mainly white protestant Europeans. My son is a member of two minorities, he is Mexican and Jewish. Furthermore those labels aren't enough, he is an artist and an intellectual. This blog is followed by people that know me. I am not a public intellectual.
These Iowans, as I was saying, have to decide this week, who they like for President. They were overwhelmed by negative campaigns, paid by Mitt Romney against Newt Gingrich, and queued up in favor of Romney, as if they were sheep. Politics encourages authoritarianism, but, at its best, it forces people to make their mind based on the best information they can get.
On the other hand if you do not have the qualifications, the higher you are in the hierarchy, the more you are attacked. We all want the best leaders, and they have to be thoroughly vetted.
If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.