Art Kavanagh

Follow @artkavanagh on Micro.blog.

Why I don’t (entirely) agree with Nikitonsky about Medium

Yesterday @adders linked to a post (on Medium) in which Nikitonsky blasts the idea that Medium is a good choice for blogging.

I’m not totally persuaded by this argument. It’s true that RSS on Medium is unusable, because comments are included. This is frustrating, in that it seems like a small thing that breaks an otherwise well implemented RSS feature. (Medium’s approach could be seen as part of an attempt to discourage gnomic, contextless, off-the-cuff comments, in favour of something more considered and capable of standing on its own. If so, it probably doesn’t work, but it’s a laudable objective.)

I’d never thought about how Medium pages appear to somebody who hasn’t signed up for the site. Yes, this is a bad oversight on my part. My most-read Medium piece gets 100% of its traffic from “external sources” the main one being Google, as you’d expect. Many of us are attracted to Medium because it offers a ready-built readership, and some writers are getting income from membership subscriptions, so it’s easy to forget the importance of readers from “outside” (i.e. from the web). I’m embarrassed to say that I hadn’t thought of visiting any of my pages from a logged-out browser, to see what the experience is like.

While I agree that the sticky footer is annoying, I’ve got used to having to dismiss it. I regularly have to dismiss much more intrusive pop-ups and whatnot on other websites. I’m sure that the header does go away as you scroll, and the social bar on the left is easy enough to ignore. (Again, I’m used to ignoring more intrusive examples on other sites.)

That highlight/comment/tweet pop-up is a bloody nuisance, particularly on mobile if you want to extend the selection. I think that Medium should (and eventually will) remove this when they update the platform. Highlighting can be useful but, on balance, Medium would be better and more usable without it. Yeah, this should go, but it’s not a deal-breaker.

“Following” is broken, not just on Medium but across the web. Ignore it. You’re better off using tags and/or search to find what you want to read.

As Nikitonsky says, the typography is good, as is the editor (if you’re not writing poetry with complex lineation). These factors count for a lot with me and they’re why I’ll be staying on Medium. I think.