@Tonz and @kevinmarks have been my connections on earlier blogging research. One thing that struck me was the demise of research at BlogCon.
While the file formats stink I can find much of the conference research up to 2004...Then when the conference remerged in 2006 it was about SEO and building reach.
What happened? We went from building networks to trying to dominate someone else's platform.
A loss of agency as the world migrated away from the holistic world of blogging to the prescriptive world of social media.
The research agenda shifted from agency to being an ad agency.
Teachers Keep Flame Burning
Meanwhile across the USA teachers wanted to bring the power of social media to the classroom. Yet due to the dangers of social media, plus some technopanic, we kept students in even stricter silos.
Yet often time this was blogging.
Many of us also adopted production based pedagogies for writing that embraced agentive writing.
Blogs were built for this. Many of us just lost the way as we got distracted by shiny new objects...and the social media did reduce barriers of access to what was, and still is in many ways, a majority white male world online.
Hard to Hold a Candle Against a Firehose
As the world went all in on social media teachers from kindergarten to college kept the blogosphere alive. Blogger, Edublogs, SeeSaw, School website CMSs. In almost every district everywhere there was a minimum of one teacher blogging with students the last ten years.
That's a ton of people, many now reaching young adult age, who hunger for more agency online.
We could never keep the fire burning one at a time, but if we all stick together maybe the fire can burn bright enough.