The Medium is the message

Fifty weeks after initially signing up to Medium I was finally invited to actually contribute some writing to it. Initially I was actually quite honoured as invites had been like gold-dust up until then. Then I looked at Twitter and realised the flood gates had opened and I was anything but special.

I wanted to try it out though as I remained extremely curious about the stripped down interface they offered and also about what exactly it offered beyond what WordPress (or hopefully some day soon Ghost) gives me.

I will say that as a platform it is a pleasure to write in – well it would be if I didn’t write everything in iA Writer first anyway 🙂 The light touch formatting is very nice and it does produce something extremely readable. It is incredibly locked down though and really doesn’t offer much flexibility. That is clearly intended though. It is all about showcasing the words.

Something about the way it has evolved seems to have created a kind of Medium house style. Longer form than a lot of blog posts, more personal, maybe of wider interest. It seems like a massive version of ‘Comment is Free’ from the Guardian.

Stef Lewandowski wrote a nice piece explaining why he has decided to use it as a primary writing platform – I can see his points but I am not sure I agree. Well I agree it made sense to consolidate his writing in one place under his editorial control but it seems to me that could have been under his own domain as well? Does Medium really bring a new audience? I suppose maybe for those privileged few who end up in the Editors choice list on the homepage. For me at least all I am doing is bringing my same small audience somewhere else.

This feeling that writing there required a different tone did encourage me to experiment with a more personal style of writing. It isn’t something I am really that comfortable with – which is weird given how much I share online.

I have started a little mini autobiography project basically – trying to put in to words the things that I think define me beyond the work. So far I have written;

Being Briztolian : about my love affair with my city
Confessions of a comic book geek : about my ongoing addiction to this least respected literature
Easy Like Sunday Morning (Football) : about my relationship with football and its importance to my confidence as a person

There are a couple more I’d like to write – certainly something about my love of hip hop. So I’ll finish that up on Medium – then I think I’ll export the lot, call that experiment closed and dust off 🙂

3 responses to “The Medium is the message”

  1. You’re right about there being a house style. And I think it’s one which is definitely different from blogging (less timely, and more stand-alone, for a start).

    The concerns about whether it’s the best place to build an audience are I think misplaced though. The point about Medium is that it’s a place to publish an article or two if you don’t care about building an audience – that pressure is taken from you. I’ve only published one piece ( there so far. Maybe I’ll publish one or two more. But it’s not a replacement for my blog, it’s something different.

  2. I get what you are saying about it being somewhere you can just write without the pressure and I can see how it might work like that – I know a few people who used to be great bloggers but fell out of it but might use Medium just occasionally when they get the itch *but* that isn’t how it seems to me now. It feels like somewhere people who already write a lot and have decent followings are moving on the assumption it offers something different – and if that isn’t a new audience I am just not sure what it is.

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