Why I Decided Not to Move to Medium

Recently as I’ve just revamped my blog a thought came to my mind that must have crossed everyone’s mind.

Should I move my blog post to Medium?

After doing some research, and having a discussion with my friend @contraultra, whom even shared an interesting article on the topic (click the title of this page to read it). I still decided not to, for a multitude of reasons.

First I find it useful to weigh the pros and cons. I should note that the comparison I have in is more for whether if you should start your own blog with your own domain, or publish to Medium.

Pros

  • Established web site
  • Established readership
  • Beautiful Minimalist Presentation
  • It’s one of those hipster/mainstream things people do nowadays
  • No need to worry about how content is presented, only focus on writing
  • No need to worry about scale (if you host on a lousy server it’ll crash if it goes viral)
  • You now possibly contribute to good articles on Medium.
  • Easy Imports (Or so I’ve read)

Cons

  • Your content is locked into Medium’s ecosystem
  • No control over how your content is presented
  • No control over the future of your content
  • While you own your content, you give Medium a nonexclusive right to do whatever they want with it 1
  • It’s one of those hipster/mainstream things people do nowadays
  • Your Writings will now be published in the form of username.medium.com or [email protected]
  • You now possibly contribute to bad articles on Medium that just add noise

The Pros seem to outweigh the Cons so far right now. And as I am drive into points like how Medium is larger, and will take over your online presence, it sure does seem like Medium is the better medium (pun intended), to share your story for the world to see. I’ve brought up the cons to most people and the response I got is eh?.

However, like Twitter, you’ll soon realize that when you Google yourself, the first few search results aren’t your blog anymore (unless it was pretty popular to begin with). It’s going to be Twitter. Or, in this case, Medium.

I’m not a huge fan of SEO or bending over backwards to add more keywords and appear higher on the search ranking, but what comes up when others search for me does matter. Will you want that to be Medium? If you’re a great writer sure.

Unless people really care, your blog post is going nowhere.

This point was brought up by FreeCodeCamp’s article on whether or not you should publish to medium. While I do agree on some accounts, it really shouldn’t be a reason for you to move over. Everyone has potential in writing, and publishing on Medium will mean more people will read it, but do you want your writing to be known on Medium and not your own blog? One day if you do become someone influence (and that’s a big IF for me), do you want people going to Medium? Or to your own blog?

Medium Terms of Service

Medium is just like any another platform, and if you read their terms of service, some of which I have included in the footnotes, a few points to highlight how a platform has to protect itself by telling you what they can or cannot do:

  • We can change these Terms at any time.
  • If you don’t agree to them, you should delete your account before they take effect.
  • We can remove any content you post for any reason.
  • We may change, terminate, or restrict access to any aspect of the service, at any time, without notice.
  • No children (well most services have this clause, so it doesn’t matter)
  • Under our DMCA Policy, we’ll remove material after receiving a valid takedown notice
  • You agree to follow these Rules and Policies. If you don’t, we may remove content, or suspend or delete your account.

While Medium has been heralded as an advocate for free speech when they were issued a take down notice over one of Malaysia’s more controversial stories. They still are susceptible to pressures of the government. You having your own blog on the other hand, only makes yourself susceptible to the pressures of any government or body, and of course, the hosting provider you run your website on.

It would be good to note that Medium is, at time of writing blocked in Malaysia and China. Any the list may grow in the future as Medium becomes more populat. While some of the blocking can be easily undone by jumping through a few hoops, it also means a population in this world will never have access to what you may have to offer. Chances of your own blog being censored is very little, unless you are a political voice. On techical blogs like mine, I don’t see why my website will be blocked by large countries.

Of course, if you instead host your blog like me on GitHub Pages, I am also surrendering some of my rights over to GitHub, so my arguement may be null and void on this point, but hosting on GitHub does give me 2 benefits over Medium, control and flexibility.

Hypothetically, something goes wrong in the future with GitHub pages or even GitHub, all I have to do is build my website from a repository, dump it on a hosting service, and I’m back in business. Sure there’ll be some pain in configuing how links appear and redirection, but that’ll be a settled soon enough.

I call the shots on what I want here, I get to decide everything, up to what font and font size I want using CSS. Want another theme? Sick of being minimalist and prefer something unique? I just have to deal with theming (a pain) and I’m done, no need to bother about what Medium wants or decides to do. Since my writing is all done in Markdown, it’ll remain readable. Medium exports are in HTML, meaning you’ll most likely spend sometime extracting your content and republishing if you decide to move elsewhere. Of course, we all do hope Medium is here to stay so you’ll never have to deal with it right?

Conclusion

I for one would love it when people take the time to read what I write, and not having to deal with formatting and displaying my content, such as meddling with Markdown. But having to pass on my content’s fate into yet another ecosystem for the future, in which they may decide to change their terms, or add more ads or make a blunder that will make Medium no longer cool and hip, I have to deal with migrating all my content, and whatever traffic I previously had, along with links to my blog will be destroyed.

I don’t think it’s worth surrendering my rights on my content over to another platform. However, if you just want a place to share your thoughts and don’t really care about what Medium will do to it, then by all means, Medium is great. It’s the next Blogspot or Wordpress if you may, a platform for ideas, for sharing cat articles, for being part of the collective movement that is Medium.

On the flipside, if you do love what Medium has to offer, and do not want to just give up on your own blog, you could always post on both Medium and your website/blog. That way you can share with the readers on Medium, and add a link back, where they can explore your other articles if they want to. This is of course more work and duplicated content is never easy to manage in the future. Point is, you can do it.

I like reading articles on Medium too, the design is clean, standardized, but the more I think about it, it’s a Blogspot or Wordpress with more restrictions, and that somehow allures people who want decisions regarding their content made for them. It’s cool to be part of a collective, and not alone in another separate domain. Or perhaps I feel like I don’t have anything particularly noteworthy to post on Medium. Perhaps.

Though given how basic some of us gen-Y millenials are becoming, I doubt this will sway anyone from posting on Medium. If anything, one day my parody of being basic will consume me, and I’ll post on Medium, whilst sipping my cold brew, fair-trade, non-GMO coffee with soy milk, typing away happily on my Macbook full of Ruby on Rails decal stickers along with my Hipster glasses and NATO strapped watch, talking about a bajillion frameworks I’ve read about on HackerNews, or talking about how I failed in XYZ startup and what I learnt, just like thousands of others on Medium who somehow just seem to love talking about how they failed on Medium like it’s revolutionary. Ugh, so much noise.

  1. Per Medium’s Terms of Service:

    … you give us a nonexclusive license to publish it on Medium Services, including anything reasonably related to publishing it (like storing,
    displaying, reformatting, and distributing it). In consideration for Medium granting you access to and use of the Services, you agree that Medium may enable advertising on the Services, including in connection with the display of your content or other information. We may also use your content to promote Medium, including its products and content.

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