No Medium

Amusing link of the day:

Screenshot of
Screenshot of

Now that’s a sentiment I can get find. Medium is bad. Do stop using it.

But while it’s a particularly egregious example of a service gone bad – you can’t even reliably select text without being nagged anymore – this wisdom could reasonably be extended to all platforms where your content is hosted for free on someone else’s infrastructure.

Flash back to circa 2012-13. I was working at Heroku and had a lot of technical colleagues very dialed into the latest trends in technology and companies. Many of them already had self-hosted blogs, but even so, decided to start publishing new material to Medium – it had a powerful editor, very clean design, and most importantly, everyone was doing it.

It’s easy to forget nowadays that it took years for Medium to devolve, and though hindsight is 20-20, it wasn’t obvious at the time that it would. As a thought exercise, think about how you view Substack today (hopefully fairly positively) and project it onto Medium back then – a hot new startup with an exciting new model for publication, promising to further democratize the world. I’m enjoying my Substack experience so far, and it seems to have a better plan for profitability than Medium ever did, but over a timeline of ten years, there’s considerable risk there as well.

I went back to look at a few of my ex-colleagues’ Medium blogs that I remembered. I was still able to get at the content (I really don’t understand how their paywall works), but like you’d expect it was shoehorned in amongst cruft and modals that weren’t there when it was published. Conversely, where my colleagues stayed off Medium and published to their own sites, those tended to still be up (although not with perfect reliability), and in their original pristine state.

Time changes platforms, especially those without a robust monetization model. Independent sites aren’t only resistant to that, but they’re also just so healthy for the internet and for you – not only do you keep content out of the walled gardens, but you get to learn something along the way.

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