Medium’s mobile makeover inspired me to write again
Medium recently updated its mobile apps, which had been mostly featureless before. Now, they’re very much like what I suppose Medium has always been in a browser, but it’s in a place I’ll use it more often. I already do use it more often, as a reader, and through this use, I am more interested in using it to write.
I didn’t understand the purpose of Medium at first. It was place to write long things on the Internet (“long” meaning more than 140 characters). But everybody already had a blog — some of us had a few of them. Why work to bang out something funny, interesting, or useful, and then post it for free on another site? Sure, I’d done exactly that on Huffington Post a few times, but that had the imprimatur of a fake-ass newspaper, backed by AOL. What was Medium? A blank looking site with some personnel connections with Twitter.
There was more to it than that, of course, but it was hard to see before the full Medium experience came to mobile. Now I see that there are other things here that Huffington Post and my many abandoned blogs do not have: community and readers. Huffington Post does have a comments section, but it’s the same hate- and noise-filled crap that any comments section has, not only not worth reading but also best to avoid. It does have readers, but my other venues — blogs started as a something of a lark, not backed up with any business or institutional support, and intermittently updated — have very few of those.
Medium has followers, like Twitter, so users see the long or long-ish posts by people they have chosen. There are replies rather than comments, and features in the system keep you from automatically seeing any from outside your network, which cuts the noise. Even when I do opt in to see these replies, they are always respectful, and usually intelligent. This might be because Medium hasn’t caught on in a big way yet; Twitter had a high signal-to-noise ratio when I first used it many years ago, but those days are over. But when the hoards do arrive, if they arrive, this built-in cloaking system will keep them out of my feed and away from my eyes. When I publish here, my readers won’t be distracted by irrelevant or inflammatory responses.
Since there are readers here, it’s a more attractive venue than a blog of my own making that I can’t really maintain regularly. But publishing here has the same proprietary sense of integrity as posting on your own blog. Posting on Huffington Post is a compromise that attaches your byline to a brand that has earned its bad reputation for also publishing content ripped off from other sites. Publishing there also entails working for AOL for free. Of course, publishing on Medium usually entails working for Medium for free, but its ideals, history, and backing make this a more savory proposition.
The possibilities of writing on this platform make me excited to add my own writing to the masses of pieces that appear here, and the content I see here already inspires thoughts and ideas that I soon hope to share.