Is Medium the Blog World’s Titanic?

When I made the decision to start blogging on a regular basis I was greeted by a blogger’s most primal question, “where am I going to blog?”I’ve used WordPress, dabbled with Square Space (IMO its great for websites but mediocre for blogs), tried a Postach.io account (quickly abandoned this when I left Evernote), and put my toe in the water of blogger (Googles blog platform).

Throughout my adventures trying different platforms there’s been a growing fan base encouraging me to check out Medium. What started as a subtle nudge by a handful of friends in 2012 has become a not so subtle “YOU DON’T BLOG ON MEDIUM?!” With all the enthusiasm I began to believe Medium was becoming the gold standard, the Apple of blog platforms.

A Brief History of Medium:

Medium was founded in 2012 by the cofounders of Twitter; Evan Williams, Biz Stone, and Jason Goldman. Yes, that twitter. The 140 character twitter we all love to hate, but can’t help but go back for more twitter. The goal of Medium is three fold:

  • Create an easy to setup but eloquent blog platform.
  • Focus on sorting posts by topic instead of author. (Allegedly this was supposed to help get smaller lesser known authors work seen by a larger audience)
  • Use a rating system where readers can “clap” content they like. (Medium has an acronym ABC for “always be clapping.”)

If you want to know more about Medium check out these two articles:

The Atlantic: What is Medium?

Business Insider: The Cofounders of Twitter Launch A New Blog Platform, Medium.

Medium’s Steady Rise

As I trudged through the mud of experimenting with other platforms Medium’s brand kept growing. By 2015 some big name players were switching their blogs to Medium. The list includes The Ringer (Bill Simmons’ all things sports brand), Basecamp (project management system, NYT Best-Sellers, and general brand of awesome industry disruptiveness), General Electric (Yes, that’s what the “GE” on your refrigerator stands for).

Medium became so big I started noticing my aggregated news app “Smart News” pushing articles from them. It seemed as if Medium really was becoming the gold standard. Only a fool would avoid using this platform, or so I thought, until I did a little more digging.

Big Names Parting Ways with Medium

So, a few weeks ago I’m staring at a blank screen unable to think of anything worth writing about. Suddenly, an idea came to me, “instead of actually writing something why don’t I spend time searching for where I’ll write it?” Great idea!

Assuming I would end up blogging at Medium I went ahead and made a new account (sign-up is super easy). After creating my account I did a simple google search, “Why does Basecamp use Medium?” Much to my shock this twitter post is what I found.

WHAT?! David Heinemeier Hansson the CTO of Basecamp shared with the world that Basecamps blog Signal v. Noise is leaving Medium?! Doing a few more google searches I learned there are a number of “big hitters” leaving Medium including The Ringer! Whaaat is happening…

Here’s a good article explaining the reason behind The Ringer’s leaving Medium.

Fast Company: Bill Simmons’ The Ringer is leaving Medium and Moving to Vox.

Should You Use Medium For Blogging?

A simple google search will show you a plethora of other organizations that are leaving Medium. The question important for me, and any start-up blogger like myself is, “Should I avoid blogging on Medium?” Simply put, yes, I think most people should avoid Medium. Here are my three reasons why.

1. It’s a personal brand killer

Something I noticed among the big players leaving was that Medium’s brand was taking away from theirs. If blogs that get 100,000+ readers a post are losing followers, what will the platform do to someone who gets 10 readers?

One example of medium being a brand killer is in their URL policies. Medium no longer allows for custom domain names, and presumably will be getting rid of the one’s that do exist in the near future.

To read Medium’s “Custom Domain Service Deprecation” policy go HERE.

To get a more in-depth view on Medium as a brand killer check out this YouTube video from Brendan Hufford.

“Starting a blog on Medium.com? Watch this FIRST.

2. There’s no longterm plan for monetization

In DHH’s Twitter post he mentioned “VC’s” as a reason Basecamp is leaving the platform. Medium was started with Venture Capitalist funding, which means there needs to be a ROI (return on investment). Without a longterm plan for monetization Medium has no way to appease their investors. Inevitably, this can lead to adding different “features” that are focused on making money and not benefitting writers.

Their latest release of “series” could be one such example of features that are “reaching for straws.” For a thoughtful analysis of “series” check out this article from a Medium blogger.

WTF is Medium’s New “Series” Feature and What does It Mean For Us?

3. Lack of Confidence in Medium’s Longevity

This argument is purely subjective, but I don’t have confidence Medium will be around for the long haul. For example, Apple has had its fair share of ups and downs since its founding in 1976. However, part of what makes Apple the gold standard is that it always finds a way to rise again. Medium has never had a stable financial plan and has yet to show it can be sustainable longterm. It’s relatively new to the blog game and may end up being a flash in the pan instead of an industry revolutionizer.

Platforms I Recommend

If you, like me, decide to blog elsewhere there is no short supply of really good platforms. I recommend checking out WordPress.com, this is where I’ve landed. If you write in Ulysses on iPad you should check out this cool iOS workflow by Matt Birchler.

My Blogging Workflow for iOS

If you have a bit more scratch to spend check out Ghost. Ghost is what I wish Medium was, and it has a longterm sustainable financial plan.

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