Writing for Medium

I'm still not sure what to make of Medium. It feels a little bit like Tumblr for long-form writing, and uses twitter accounts to provide an interactive, 'social', backdrop for what are essentially blog posts. I have seen criticism that it emphasises style over content, and I can see how one might arrive at that conclusion, but we should be beyond the point where we consider form and function as exclusives and accept their codependency. Unfortunately as a public platform Medium has total control over it's style but relies entirely on the world at large to both provide quality content and to peer-distribute the best stuff.

I was a little put off by it's initial exclusivity also; not only because cherry picking your content on what is intended to be a public platform seems a little underhand, but also because it suggests that despite it's claims of openness there is an ill-defined standard of writing that you should consider yourself capable of. If you're not cocky enough to know you're good enough, then it is sort of implicit that you are not. It also means that the trending articles are skewed in favour of those early writers. Even collections (Medium's primary curation tool) on popular subjects are still relatively unpopulated while the handful of initial collections retain domination of the site's readership. Organic growth feels stifled.

Maybe it's just me.

Anyway, I didn't want to write Medium off without at least giving it a fair trial. It is a neat concept; it promotes writing for the pleasure of reading and treats each individual article as singular and significant. So I decided to cover a topic that I've written about before, but some recent blog posts by friends prompted me to revisit. It has a pretty nice, simple editing interface, and presentation overall is clean. The real pull of Medium for a writer though should be exposure; you write for Medium in symbiosis, Medium gains great content and you have an opportunity to get read by a wider audience than you might reach on your own blog. This currently doesn't seem to work as well as I had hoped. After browsing Medium for a while it seems to me that the majority of articles languish unnoticed, many of them worth reading.

In the end, if you have to put significant effort into publicising your work outside of Medium's own social layer then you might as well do so for your own blog; instead of investing your own time on Medium's behalf. It's not a productive relationship if there's no give and take.