I obviously like Medium a lot. In particular I love the fonts (with the qualification that it would be great to have the option of using a sans font for body text), and the other typographical features. I like the social elements of the site, the encouraging applause, the way it’s (often) so much easier to find readers for what you’ve written than it is in the vast open waters of the web, or in the artificially constrained ad-selling networks of the main “social” media. Medium fits well with me.
Recently, though, I was reminded that Medium doesn’t appear the same to everyone. If you follow a link to a Medium post but haven’t registered with the site, you’ll be nagged to do so. If you visit in a mobile browser (e.g. Safari for iOS), you’ll be nagged to open the post in the app. I was aware of the second issue but not the first. So I visited using a different browser, one that didn’t have my usual cookies, and I had to agree that the reader experience wasn’t optimal. It was noticeably worse that I’d been assuming.
Anyway, I still love Medium in spite of these flaws (mainly, as I say in the first paragraph because of the fonts/layout and the friendly readers). But there’s a complication. Recently (after vaguely thinking about the idea for many years) I finally registered an Irish (.ie) domain name. If I continue to write no faster than my current rate, that means that I’ll probably post fewer stories on Medium. The general consensus seems to be that (a) it’s bad for SEO purposes to post the same “content” on more than one site — Google doesn’t like it; and (b) it’s better to post on Medium first, to be discoverable by the site’s established readership.
I have a rough idea which kinds of “content” — please forgive my repeated use of such offensive language — do better on Medium. (Fiction doesn’t draw large numbers in absolute terms but it tends to appeal to relatively more readers here than elsewhere; criticism does well but with most of the views coming from “external sources” rather than from within Medium itself; and so on.) I’ll be trying to figure out the balance between posts that do well on Medium and ones that might do better on my own site. While I expect the balance to redress itself in time, at first I’ll probably be erring on the side of favouring my own site — as I may have done with the post below, in which I argue that the elegance and usability of Markdown are evidence that (at least from a writer’s point of view) html is a missed opportunity: it should never have been as cumbersome and graceless as it is.
I’ve just put together a list of my own fiction on Medium, hoping that the stories will be easier to find if they’re not all mixed up with my posts on various topics. There are several short stories, a novella and a novel and they’re all free to read.