Ending the Medium Experiment

Well, at least I tried.

A couple months back, there was a growing chorus of consensus that Medium is now the blogging platform, particularly for serious, long-form writing. There were types of perspective and insightful posts which seemed to become viral on a daily basis, and I was interested in leveraging the platform’s strengths in relevance and discovery. Since they had just released their WordPress cross-post plugin, I figured it was a fairly painless way to try it out.

Almost immediately I felt the disconnect in porting to a “non-native” platform. Sure, blog posts are mostly just words, but features like footnotes1, featured images, and even text formatting don’t translate cleanly from WordPress to Medium. Worse, their plugin crashes PHP on certain posts, rendering the admin editing UI inoperable until the plugin itself was disabled.

As to the discovery and possibly added readership benefits, I didn’t see much of it. To be fair, Medium is highly incentivized to keep both authors and readers on the site, so I didn’t see more blog traffic or additional Twitter followers or any other sign of Medium expanding my non-Medium audience. There’s also the danger of allowing one entity to own so much written content, but I’m merely cross-posting and not abandoning my own blog here.

No, the problem is one of audience mismatch.

The stuff I write on allenc.com is some mix of software development practices and thoughts, reviews on books I’ve read, musings on games, plus random smatterings of startups and consumer technology and responses to articles I read online. It’s a personal blog, and it reflects my interests and hobbies and outlook on the world, updated on a fairly regular basis.

The use case for Medium, as alluded above, is for longer forms of serious commentary. Having talked to some of the product and engineering folks there2, this bent towards deep, lengthy, contemplative writing3 is by design and encouraged via the platform’s own recommendations and promotions. Typical blog fodder, unfortunately, doesn’t get much traction with those kinds of reader expectations.

So I’m sticking with just my blog for the time being and keeping the Medium plugin disabled. I’ll be interested in how Medium compares to this blog for a post that is highly shared and trafficked, but that requires me to come up with such writing first.

  1. Courtesy of Bigfoot and the WP-Bigfoot plugin.

  2. I interviewed there a couple of months back, although I ultimately didn’t get the job.

  3. Which, I’ll add, takes a ton of time and effort. It’s hard to dedicate the time unless it’s a one-off piece or you’re paid to generate content.

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