The Problem with Medium as a Platform

In her most recent post, Cheri Lucas Rowlands pondered where her writing lives. Outside of blogging on WordPress, she published something on Medium:

I finally published my first post on Medium — a two-minute read called “Trashing Photography.” I’d been working on a longer piece weaving two threads on the death of album listening and my process of taking digital photographs, the latter of which ultimately won the battle. But I was unhappy and frustrated with what I wrote, so I ripped the piece apart and ran the remaining 300 words that didn’t completely suck.

After publishing the post, however, I realized it was an abridged version of something I’d already written on this blog last year — regurgitated musings on the new way I take photographs. So I wondered: What’s the point of setting up an account on another publishing platform? Am I saying anything new? Does this space offer a different angle of me — an extension of the Cheri you encounter here — or am I just repackaging my thoughts?

I liked this analogy:

A writer who publishes on various platforms on the web is like an animal peeing in different places. I’m simply marking my territory — expanding the Cheri Lucas Rowlands brand far and wide. While this analogy makes me laugh, it also makes me feel rather dirty, but I get that that’s what we do these days.

I have an account set up on Medium, but as of yet, I haven’t published anything on there. I’m wary. Why? Allow Kenneth Reitz to summarize my hesitation:

Once I flipped the switch, I excitedly started a few dozen draft posts, serializing all the half-baked ideas I had been collecting in my notebook. As months went by, I found myself happily writing as my traffic slowly declined.

This isn’t the end of the world, but here’s the kicker — I couldn’t do anythingabout it.

  • I couldn’t embed any content in a post.
  • I couldn’t track referrers to know where my readers are coming from.
  • I couldn’t search Twitter for my posts because of the massively shared domain.
  • I couldn’t pick my own URLs.

These are deal-breakers to me. I want to be able to embed content (videos, tweets, etc.) into a post. I want to be able to customize my URLs. And I want the analytics to figure out how people are finding my blog. WordPress allows all of these things; Medium does not.

I guess if you don’t care for all of those things and just want to publish something, Medium is a good choice. But not for me. Not yet.

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