And That's Why I never Embraced Medium

January 17, 2019

About a 3 min. read

When Medium came on the scene, I created an account and fiddled with it, but I was never really comfortable with the downside of jumping on that platform. I worried what their eventual end-goal would be, how they would make money, and what would become of my content … would I, for example, ever be able to pull comments and discussions out of the platform if I wanted to leave?

Over the past year or two, I mirrored some of my blog there, and even wrote a couple of posts (for my job at Mozilla) on the platform. For a while, I even paid for a subscription to support this new experimental platform.

Sometime last year I cancelled my subscription, mostly because I’d started for feel like the platform was an even more extreme kind of filter bubble than Facebook or Twitter. One of the big reasons was that the daily digest emails became more and more narrow, showing me things that we ever-more-tightly aligned with my views, rarely suggesting articles that challenged my views. This really bothered me; why do I want to spend time reading think pieces from random folks that just comfirm my existing views? And without the digest, I wasn’t getting any value out of the platform at all. Ironically, as a result, I reupped my Feedly account, and started reading aggregates of real news sources. I’m better informed, and spending less time reading fluff.

Signal vs Noise recently decided to leave Medium, and wrote about it on their revived blog. One part resonated with me, and confirmed some of my concerns:

Beyond that, though, we’ve grown ever more aware of the problems with centralizing the internet. Traditional blogs might have swung out of favor, as we all discovered the benefits of social media and aggregating platforms, but we think they’re about to swing back in style, as we all discover the real costs and problems brought by such centralization.

That doesn’t mean we regret our time at Medium. Being on Medium helped propel some of our best writing to a whole new audience. But these days there’s less of a “what Medium is doing for us”, and a whole lot more of “what we’re doing for Medium”. It was a good time while it lasted, but good times are gone.

So now we’re back on the indie trail. The new blog is powered by our friends at WordPress, and the new amazing design is courtesy of our in-house designer Adam Stoddard.

Thanks to the fact that we kept our own domain when we moved to Medium, all the articles and links still work. The pieces have simply swapped the Medium styling for our own look. (Although, sad to say, Medium didn’t let us export the comments, so those are gone 😢).

I hope more people embrace running their own blogs again. (I personally use Jekyll, put the source on github, host it on netlify, and embed netlify’s netlify-cms in my site so I can edit online in a somewhat-WYSIWYG manner).

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And That's Why I never Embraced Medium - January 17, 2019 - Blair MacIntyre