the candler blog

Write Anywhere But…

Publishing, Technology, Writing

Dave Winer makes a strong case against Medium in his brief and aptly titled post, “Anywhere but Medium.”

When you give in to the default, and just go ahead and post to Medium, you’re stifling the open web. Not giving it a chance to work its magic, which depends on diversity, not monoculture.

I’ve been harping on this awhile. I gave Medium the old college try last year, but once The Dissolve (z”l) linked to my piece and claimed I wrote for Medium, I was done.1

I don’t think Medium’s “reach” is any greater than that of the open web. I have 311 followers on Medium, but I can barely get the attention of any of them. My RSS subscribers (hi, everyone; thanks for reading!) here on the candler blog have proven far more generous with their attention than my Medium “followers.”

In the years2 since I started the candler blog, the web has gotten bigger and dumber. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t still room for more websites. Consolidating all writing into Medium or Facebook or, soon, Twitter, is a terrible idea. There might be a short term, ephemeral gain, but if you’re in it for long haul of the web, put your writing somewhere that can last, preferably something you own.

One more salient point from Winer:

Which pieces get flow? Ones that are critical of Medium? I doubt it.

[…]

See there’s the other problem with ceding a whole content type to a single company. Since you’re counting on them not just to store your writing, but also build flow for it, the inclination is to praise them, to withhold criticism. To try to guess what they like, and parrot it.

I’ve posted a number of articles critical of Medium on Medium. I may as well have yelled them out my window. Meanwhile a seemingly positive piece (unless you had read it in the context of everything else I had been saying about Medium at the time) I wrote there with an admittedly leading title, “Is Medium What Comes After Blogs?,” got re-shared by Medium staffers, which seems to be the only way to get any traction on the site.

When Winer talks about a “monoculture,” he’s not just talking about all writing going into Medium; he’s talking about writing trying to ape the Medium style. For now that means publishing articles that match the tastes of the site’s core group of editors. This is why I roll my eyes if a link sent my way points to Medium. It’s also why John Gruber introduced “fist eggplant,” a trend that continues to this day.

Anyway, it’s 2016. My goal this year is to write more about anything else than about how much I don’t want to write on Medium.

  1. I’ve written a few random thoughts there since, and am now (like, starting today), experimenting with syndicating my posts there via RSS (since Winer suggests it in the above linked piece, actually).

  2. 7 years this March!

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