I've been following Medium for sometime, ever since I got an invitation to try out the service over a year ago. I wasn't really sure what to make of it at first. It felt like little more than a simplified version of WordPress, or any other blogging platform for that matter. Early on, there was also a lot of criticism over who owns the content published, the inability to use your own analytics and ad services, or your own (sub)domain for SEO reasons. All arguments that initially kept me away from the platform.
But I've watched Medium evolve. In that time I've built my own blogging platform (Replica) and blog, A Life Well Played. I've also grown to care less about how the content in question is discovered. If you write something worth while, people will find it, one way or another. It’s really that simple. Writing on Medium is the same. if it’s good enough, people will want to read and share it. As far as ads go, I use adblock anyways. I've always held a sort of philosophical belief that if I don't want to see ads on a particular site, then people shouldn't need to see it on any content I produce either if I can help it. I have no qualms with the inability to display ads or really make any money for anything I write here. I'm writing here simply because I want to write.
But why choose Medium?
Why not Svbtle? or why not X platform? Svbtle sprung up around the same time Medium did, and addresses some concerns people have with Medium. For instance you can use your own google analytics, and all accounts are under a .svbtle.com subdomain or you even have the option of supplying your own domain. For a while it almost felt like the two were competing for views in a sense. Everyone was choosing one or the other. But while Medium’s feature set has been growing, I look at Svbtle and it’s still the same thing as it was when it came out. It feels too simple, and quite honestly, it doesn't feel like it’s going anywhere.
WordPress and self hosting has always been an option. In fact I still use a self hosted WordPress for my photo blog, tyler.camera. The thing about wordpress is, I never liked it for writing. Over the years I've built more sites in WordPress then I can count, and while I love it as a CMS, I've always hated it for writing, with the obnoxious formatting, I found myself hard coding text into template files more times than I’d like to admit, just to avoid dealing with getting the formatting just correct in their editor, without adding unneeded markup.
Why not just write exclusively on A Life Well Played? I have a vision for it, and I will continue to develop it and write there. However, a lot of what I have in mind to write really doesn't fit into it. I want to write more personal stories, more technical things I've learned while coding Jaded Gamer. Things that the target audience I want to build for ALWP probably really interested in. Then again, there also really isn't anything stopping me from linking stories I've written here on there either. Plus, if you hadn't noticed, I do have plans on experimenting on using the Medium platform with ALWP. I already set up a collection for A Life Well Played, and the first story of which I should have done in a couple weeks. I might be the minority, but I like the recent changes to collections on Medium, and I tend to take full advantage of it.
As for writing on underlost, I've always struggled with what exactly I wanted my site to be. Having it act as both a blog and a portfolio never really sat right with me for some reason. it’s actually one of the reasons I started ALWP. As great as Jekyll is for building a static site, and as much as I love Markdown, everytime I want to make changes, it gets a little tiresome to push it ‘to the cloud’ when i want it to go live, even if I have simplified it down to a single command or two.
Of course, maybe I'm just making excuses to not write more. With Medium it takes away most of excuses. It lets me just write. That said, Medium isn't without it’s flaws either. I'm still not sure it will be the final destination to house my writing, but for now it feels right. So with that said, I’m beginning the process of sifting through my older posts from underlost.net over the years, and bringing them to Medium. It also gives me the excuse to finally organize a lot of my older content into one place. Some pieces are stuck in old database files waiting to be extracted, others in markdown/textile, while even others are even sitting around in html files.
How Medium continues to grow and change will ultimately determine how long I stay with it. I'm not really sure what the future of Medium will be or if it will even succeed, but I know I like the changes I've been seeing, and I want to be part of it. Even if it is just temporary experiment in writing.