Linked: The Mess at Medium

Via The Verge

Worse, the data suggested that Medium’s original journalism was not converting free readers to paid subscribers. Surprisingly, what seemed to convert readers most reliably were random stories on the digital content farm that had sprung up around its high-gloss publications.

People were largely not finding these stories from journalists or even from Medium’s own recommendation algorithms, which staffers said were ineffective in predictably driving traffic. Instead, like most publications in the platform era, Medium’s traffic successes came from search engines and social networks.

“Hits would be made either because we managed to get a prime spot on Google or because something made it big on Facebook,” a former employee who worked on the tech platform told me.

It’s always easy to pass criticism when you’re on the outside looking in and I don’t really care if Medium survives or doesn’t but let’s think of the writers here. I’m not talking about the major media blogs who hung up their CMS and identities and moved all-in to Medium for the convenience or desperation but let’s talk about the people my size who published to Medium. They took hours out of their week to publish on Medium and the site will die and take their stories with it.

I’ve started to publish to a txt file on my computer before I send it out to the Internet. You should do the same. 

Unfortunately, Medium and other platforms have a feel to them and part of that is design and the other part is software. Medium differentiated itself in a few ways and a Medium blog is immediately identifiable as such. This means that while the text can live on elsewhere in a text file, a blogger/wordpress page or your own hosted website, it will lose the feel. Similar to publishing to paperback versus hardcover, the ‘medium’ (pun intended) matters. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that my writing style changes depending on the medium. We all do that, even subconsciously. 

I’ve started publishing some things to Revue, Twitter’s email platform and I write differently there than I do to my blog. 

“Won’t you think of the publishers?” Comes to mind. I hope Medium dies swiftly with options to export the written works. I don’t want them to die at all but if they do, it should be a band-aid yanking off and not a glacier slowly melting. 

It is a shame how things went for Medium but like Blogger and eventually, WordPress, these products will die and your data will die with it. This is why owning your data is so important and only using services that support data portability, open source and standards is always going to win on an infinite timescale. 

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