I've just had three bottles of beer, and they gave me the courage to read my "reviews" on ratemyprofessors.com AND myspace.com, as well as those of several of my colleagues and former professors, and I'm still feeling pretty good.
I know that when the students rate you as "easy" this is NOT a good thing. I know that when they say you are engaging and fair, this IS a good thing. I know that when they say you have passion for your subject and "know what you're talking about" and even sign their names (!) this IS a good thing. I know that when they say another prof. goes on and on about their politics or personal life, this is NOT a good thing. I know that when they say "the worst ever" not to pay attention.
For all their evil, these sites do provide some meaningful input on my teaching - the "raves" don't necessarily make me feel good about myself our my colleagues. When I get a student who has the balls to talk to me or e-mail me after the final and tell me they really enjoyed my class, when I have students who are "repeat customers"who sign up for my classes they don't "need," or repeat offenders" who fail the first (or second) time sign up again because they know I care, I know this is the REAL thing. I know that when I have a new class in the spring and 80% of the students are current and former students, I KNOW I am doing something right.
Blame it on the brews, but I e-mailed these repeat customers and asked them what they wanted to get our of the class since it was new. I hope they respond. And I love them even if they don't.