Thematic vs. eclectic blogging

Some blogs revel in eclecticism. Marginal Revolution comes to mind. Despite itsĀ broadĀ thematic focus on economics, it embraces a sprawling set of interests, which largely reflects the eclectic genius of its primary writer, Tyler Cowen. In that sense, despite the fact that there are “themes”, MR revolves around an embrace of eclecticism.

On the other end of the spectrum I consider Joe Romm’s Climate Progress blog to be the ultimate “thematic” or “thesis” blog. If you’re familiar with Romm, put aside your own politics, or your views on Romm’s frequent vitriol. Purely as a blogger, Romm does many things very well. And reading his reflections on blogging is very useful. Here he is on Climate Progress’s 5 year anniversary:

A key goal of this blog today is to save you time. There is far too much information on climate science, clean energy solutions, and global warming politics for anyone to keep up with. And the status quo media simply puts out too much analysis, most of it quite bad. And yet everyone needs to follow this issue, needs to have an an informed opinion on the most important issue of the decade and the century.

Compare that to MR. There is very little efficient about MR. If your goal is to learn economics, you would be well advised to spend your time elsewhere. Even if your goal is to keep up with the economic issues of the day, MR serves up far too many distractions. Romm’s is a “here’s what you need to know” approach. His aim is to “be a one-stop-shop for anyone who wants the inside view on climate science, solutions, and politics” as this brilliant starter post demonstrates. MR would never consider attempting to have the authoratative post on all things economics. It’s a blog about questions, diversions, assortments. Climate Progress is the opposite. It’s the one-stop-shop, the comprehensive guide, the thematic tour.

More than that, Romm has a thesis about the reality of climate change, and everything he writes relates to that thesis in some way. His is blogging as dissertation.

I’d go so far as to say that MR and Climate Progress would be two of the first blogs I’d assign to anyone looking to “learn about blogging” either from an academic or practitioner’s perspective.