I was going to call this post Blogging Dangerously: When The Internet Eats Your Blog, but I managed to restrain myself. Indeed, I was undecided about mentioning Medium’s hiccups at all, but then I remembered all those bloggers happily blogging on Blogger, Facebook, Google+ et al.
So, this post.
Blogging platform Medium is in the news
Medium is making the news, and not in a good way.
From Ev Williams (founder of Blogger, Medium, etc):
I’ll start with the hard part: As of today, we are reducing our team by about one third — eliminating 50 jobs, mostly in sales, support, and other business functions. We are also changing our business model to more directly drive the mission we set out on originally.
This article, Problems at publishing platform Medium affect many businesses — even HBO, made these points:
Medium had buzz since the beginning thanks to its connections to Twitter and thanks to Williams’ prior success building a blogging tool, Blogger, which Google acquired in 2003. Medium has often been praised for its clean design and easy-to-use tools (for both writers and readers, with intuitive passage-highlighting and sharing options). But its model has failed, which is at the very least disappointing in a digital media landscape already in dire straits and seeking innovation.
Medium may survive or not, but how does this affect you, the hardworking writer?
Obviously it affects you if you’re blogging on Medium; if you’re blogging there, you may want to rethink your marketing strategies. It also affects you if you’re blogging on any free blog service over which you have zero control.
Blogging is dangerous when you don’t have control
From my post on Facebook, Sad: Medium collides with reality, nursing bruises:
I love Medium. I love the way it works, I love the site and the typography, and I hugely admire Ev Williams.
That said, I was and am VERY wary of Medium, because as soon as I decide I LOVE something, it changes. Or dies.
I got a Blogger premium/ pro subscription way back in 2003, but then Ev Williams (who founded Blogger) sold it to Google. Huh — all I got for my paid subscription was a Blogger hoodie. Nice hoodie, yes, but…
I felt cheated. I wanted a BETTER Blogger, damnit. (That better Blogger hasn’t appeared BTW.)
I trust my intuition. My intuition urged me to blog 17 years ago, and it rarely leads me astray. So, because, as I’ve said, I LOVE Medium, over the past few years I kept thinking: “Do more with Medium. Why not? It looks great, and has social media baked in…”
Then I remembered the other blogging platforms which have died over the years. Most have not only faded from sight, but also from memory. Posterous stands out for me. Posterous shuttered when it was acquired by Twitter.
The reality is that when someone else solely controls your blogging platform, it’s a worrying situation, and you need to be aware of it. You can carry on blogging happily enough, but do be aware, and have a contingency plan.
Blogging on someone else’s platform? Be aware of the dangers
That’s the lesson to take away from all those freebie blogging platforms which seem amazing, but over which you have zero control, and which are — POOF — gone. Your blog is just a single decision away from closing — a decision which is made by someone else.
Am I recommending that you leave Medium, Blogger, WordPress.com and other “free” platforms? No, I’m not. If you don’t have the time to deal with your own web hosting so you can blog using WordPress or Squarespace on your own website, it’s a decision you make.
However, do be aware that it can be a dangerous decision. Forewarned is forearmed, after all.
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