Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Anywhere But Medium

Speaking of Medium, Dave Winer thinks you shouldn’t publish there for lots of good reasons:

If Medium were more humble, or if they had competition, I would relax about it. But I remember how much RSS suffered for being dominated by Google. And Google was a huge company and could have afforded to run Google Reader forever at a loss. Medium is a startup, a well-funded one for sure, but they could easily pivot and leave all the stories poorly served, or not served at all. I’m sure their user license doesn’t require them to store your writing perpetually, or even until next week. […]

We all point to tweets, me too, because it’s too late for competition. And YouTube videos. SoundCloud MP3s. Do we really want to bury something as small and inexpensive as a web page? Is it necessary that a Silicon Valley tech company own every media type? Can we reserve competition in the middle of the web, so we get a chance for some of the power of an open platform for the most basic type of creativity — writing?

Medium is an attractive choice for lots of people — from average users to the most tech-savvy writers — because it’s straightforward and has few options, but also because it has become the platform du jour. Momentum has inherent value — just ask Google about how they tried to compete with Facebook.

I really wish there were a more turnkey solution for owning your writing. Winer advocates publishing on Tumblr, for example, but I don’t see how that’s much better. If anything, its Yahoo ownership makes me worry about its future. Even if you have a self-hosted weblog, as I do, its longevity is partly determined by which web host you choose and how their future prospects look. I don’t know what the solution is — especially for non-technical writers — but I do know that while throwing your hat in the ring with big, well-funded startups has a history of mixed results, siding with small yet noble companies often doesn’t end well.