2 minute read.

Can we all please stop using Medium now?

Paul Anthony / May 16, 2019

Posted in: Opinion

Medium is cancer. A trojan horse. It’s Facebook. But for blogging. A walled garden behind which all your favourite content lives, and yet you are forced to login via their shitty UI, or worse still pay for access.

When did reading stuff on the web become pay to play?

I’ll tell you when. When we all got greedy looking for the attention our blogs used to get until social media came along. Or when we got greedy looking for coinage off the onetruecontentsource™. If you enjoy reading on the web chances are you’ve been forced to login to Medium at some point in the last week.

Have any of you noticed the dark UI patterns. I bet you did. I’m guessing you noticed smart programmers  / designers / internet celebs tweeting about how shit it is. Maybe someone you respect continually pointed out their accessibility failures. Maybe you nodded your head in agreement. Maybe you even retweeted it. Go you.

Just so we are clear. Medium takes your content, rolls it up into a pretty SEO friendly package for themselves and sells it. Oh, and turns us all into seals waiting for someone to throw us a fish in the process. If you are lucky, you might even get a cut. You know. Like the sort of cut artists get on Spotify. Profit share I think the cool kids call it.

So why is everyone still publishing on it? For what? More eyeballs? More attention? More reach?

Balls to that. If only one of you read this I’ll be happy. At least I own my own platform and I’m not being controlled by some monolithic publishing giant that can do whatever they want and sell whatever advertising they please ON YOUR HARD WORK.

Please. It’s 2019. Learn to market yourself and your content. Quit being lazy waiting for Medium to do it for you. OWN YOUR PLATFORM.

Oh, and don’t get me started on the mini publications that we all jump for fucking joy over being published on. How’s about no. How’s about we starting taking responsibility for the absolute decimation of the traditional web.

You know. That old internet that used to be open and free.

  • Blogging
  • bullshit
  • indieweb
  • medium

26 responses to “Can we all please stop using Medium now?

  1. Did you activate that plugin to show reading time before posting this ? :P Anyways, totally agree with this – have been bummed about everyone including companies doing open source posting on medium and medium charging for content that should be free. Anyways, keep up the good fight man :+1:

  2. I think what was most striking to me was one of the HN comments saying they’d had their content deleted by the platform. It’s super disappointing that all these platforms silo information and attention and that they favor content shared on their respective platforms. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find unique blogs and bloggers simply because it’s difficult to find content outside of these platforms. I also wonder if it comes down to a question of digital literacy and what people can accomplish on the Internet– like, are people only using Medium because it’s easy? I certainly don’t think that everyone is as capable of building and maintaining a blog like this, and Medium certainly does cater to that fast, simple society. Thank you for your post– definitely something I’ve been thinking of recently. I put a link in a recent article that I’d been working on for a bit. Also, if you’re looking for good, unique content from independent bloggers this list is quite nice: https://github.com/jkup/awesome-personal-blogs

  3. Hi Paul,

    I like your post, yet, I am wondering why your website links to walled gardens such as facebook and twitter instead of pushing alternatives like mastodon. :)

    Cheers, Daniel

  4. “Your own platform”? I hosted my own public-facing TWiki website for well over a decade, w/ thousands of page/articles. Nobody cared, and domains cost money.

    https://medium.com/@reiber is a lot cheaper for ME to use as a way to publish than “my own platform”.

  5. But yet, i couldn’t help noticing that most of the links in the article were not to other people’s own blogging or writing web sits but to another social media empire: Twitter.

  6. Hi there, thanks for this post. Wanted to let you know I found it via “WebDesignerNews.com,” an email newsletter I receive that contains curated post links. I couldn’t agree with you more about Medium by the way and other publications online that limit access. Email is, in my opinion, the best way to build an audience that wants to read your content. It’s easily trackable, it’s more intimate than social media, with no online ads or other distractions to interrupt my reading. As an avid consumer of quality content, I prefer it delivered via email!!

  7. So I have been putting together a way for people to more easily make their own blogging platform. It would kind of mimic a social media platform, but since everything is committed to a repository using the JAMstack it could easily be converted to a full website. Any feedback would be wonderful. https://your-media.netlify.com/post/make-your-own-media/
    Everything is owned by the end user. This is only providing a recipe for people to use.

    I will also mention that https://www.stackbit.com/ is doing basically the same thing but more from a “Make life easier for Website designers” perspective.

  8. Medium “You have reached your limit for free articles this month”

    That Medium? Yeah, screw them. They are the Uber of writers.

  9. I agree completely!

    LOL — no I have NOT ever logged into Medium and do not have an account.

    Many are the times that I clicked on a link, Medium told me that I have exceeded my “limit” and need to create an account to read more articles this month…

    So for those of you blogging on Medium, I will probably miss your post if Medium wants my email addy to read it.

  10. So… on the flip side. I’m currently publishing some articles on Medium and I’m primarily doing it for personal branding and to gain some measure of visibility as a Swift/RxSwift/iOS expert.

    Since my primary goal is visibility, and not sales, to me it makes more sense to publish on Medium and let them push the rather considerable number of eyeballs they’ve gathered to my articles as opposed to creating my own site (which I’ve done in the past) and attempting to publicize it.

    If I roll my own, I have to not only find the time to write the article, but I also have to spend time and money promoting the site. I’m not being “lazy”, it’s simply time that I don’t really have and a question of opportunity cost. Further, with Medium I not only get web views but also app views from their iOS and Android applications.

    It may also be that I happen to think some level of curation is a good thing, and I’m somewhat less than enamored with the “old internet”.

    You know, the one rife with advertising, banner ads, video ads, popups, pop-unders, social media links, and advertising and affiliate tracking code of every stripe and variety. The never ending requests to “subscribe” and “stay in touch”. And let’s not forget cross-site scripting attacks, bitcoin harvesters, and other sorts of malware that’s just one click or two away.

    You know, the sort of stuff the “free” internet invented in order to pay for servers and bandwidth and content creation. Heck, even a site as benign as this one is still pouring tracking data down Google’s maw.

    Nor will I mention the never-ending fight for SEO and the equally probable prospect of Google adjusting their search engine rankings and sending site visitations plummeting. You know, just the kind of thing a monolithic internet search engine giant has done time and again.

    I’m afraid that the illusion of control you think you have over your own platform could be just that, an illusion…

  11. I typically skip reading links from the Webdesigner News emails because most of the content is a Medium article about “How to design buttons” or other common sense UX bullshit like that. I wondered why those were shared or so prevalent. This bit you wrote puts it into context. They want content. It doesn’t matter how shit it is, they just want to share it and get more eyes on their site. Commodify anything and everything.

  12. I wrote on Medium when it was free. Then two things happened: They started a paywall, and I got “reported” by a jackass for some nebulous BS that I couldn’t/wouldn’t fix because they wouldn’t say exactly what the problem was.

    Turns out lots of people I had followed had the same problem, and were shit-canned from the platform. They went puritanical when they went payment model.

    I have my own blog. No one reads it. I really need to fix the software too.

    What I really want to see it a nice RSS based aggregator that we can subscribe to. Yeah, the aggregator may have tasteful ads or a small fee, but the individual blogs don’t have to. Readers would peruse the summaries ad-filled aggregator, and go view the articles they wanted to read on the author’s own site. If they wanted an ad-free experience, they would pay a small fee, but not be blocked if they didn’t pay. Call it a “content discovery service”. It would be purely text based, even the ads, for a fast load time (and lower cost.)

    Sure, the instagram addicts would hate it because they can’t read and only understand pictures, but there are enough actual deep readers to make it worthwhile.

  13. Medium also is hiding content in the paywall from authors that did NOT opt-in to the paywall! That is totally absurd! I had to contact, for instance, the owner of FreeCodeCamp because I caught one of their members article behind a paywall and the red flag got up because… all their publishers and content must be free of charge as they are a non-profit organization and they have a donation model!

    So yes! It is time to stop reading Medium and the publishers to stop using it altogether!

    Medium was an easy hub to find nice content to read and there are professional writers there, don’t get me wrong, but the paywall is a no-no, and I am pretty sure a lot of writers does not even know their content is being paywalled, WITHOUT their consent.

    Thanks for this piece and I hope you get more people to read it. I will make sure to share it too.

  14. I agree with you about what you are saying here. It never made sense of why people write on other people platforms, outside it is easy to get up and going and no real maintenance.

    I believe it just a fad and people will wise up and go back to their own personal blogs.

  15. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been managing my own self-hosted blog for years. There was a time, when Medium wasn’t the walled garden it has become, when I cross-posted to Medium but then they shutdown their WordPresa plugin and API that allowed that and so I basically left them behind. I too get tired of finding some content through a web search to end up finding it locked behind Medium.

    In the last couple of years I have also taken a POSE(Post Once Syndicate Everywhere) approach with even social media. My blog is where my social media posts start. In the long run I keep all of my content. I may lose comments and likes from those independent platforms but at least I still retain full control over my own content.

  16. Oh by the way you can read whatever article on medium even if it’s with a paywall by opening it in an incognito window.
    The only disadvantage is that you cannot clap on the article. But then again you are there to just read it.

    Thank me later ;)


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