All developers should spend at least an hour a day reading tech blogs, watching tech/conference videos or writing blogs. Even if you’re at work.
There’s no substitute for being aware of what’s happening in your community. If you want to be a decent developer you have to know what is out there and what your peers are working on. At the very least you need to have an opinion on technology issues. Be it, SOPA, be it Protect-IP or even code other people wrote.
As an employer, I’m looking out for someone who shows a desire and passion for the technology and/or industry they are in. All too often, CS, CE and IS schools churn out highly technical individuals who are so focused on their specialized skill set that they become what is like a hermit in a cave. Good at what they do, but unable to put A and B together to create something even better.
What employers should be looking for are people who may not be necessarily technically strong, but whom at the very least have the correct attitude and passion for self-improvement.
Go on. Watch videos at work. I won’t fire you. Hell, I may even give you a raise.