Manton Reece responds to Realmac’s new Typed.com and Ben Thompson’s bullish attitude about blogging services and social networks. Manton addresses the changing landscape of blogging and its platforms:
…even if those changes aren’t “a bad thing”, they can have bad consequences. Medium is a beautifully designed site and there is some great writing published there. But if it discourages people from owning their own content and writing at their own domain name, then it is a step back for the web.
I totally agree. I’m always disappointed to follow a link to an article and land on Medium. It is especially depressing when the article is written by someone with a well established blog and a history of good writing.1 Despite Manton’s suggestion that Medium can serve as a good place for cross posting, most of these articles do not exist on the author’s own site.
Because all Medium posts are based on the same small kit of parts and fit in the platform’s overall brand and aesthetic, the identity of the author is greatly diminished. The writing may actually be individualistic, but the visual voice is homogeneous. In fact, if Medium were to add the customizability necessary to overcome this issue they would become no different than their competitors, like Squarespace or Wordpress.com. Their differentiation from other blogging platforms is what makes them boring and their content unpalatable to me.
I have actually published a post on Medium and, shamefully, that post has not existed on my own site until today.2 There were very positive aspects to the service; the editor is nice, I actually had helpful input and promotion from a Medium editor, and it was easy to see the reach of the article. But those early days are gone and Medium seems like a place for people who don’t blog regularly. There’s nothing wrong with that per se, but just like with Snippets, I like to own my content.
There is a place for services like Medium, but it would be depressing if it was the only place. Owning a domain name is powerful, it allows you to create an online home for yourself and make it what you want. A service can do many things, but it can’t do that.