Journey to Medium
Recently I’ve found Medium, where many articles reside — and I’ve started a series there too about my Ray Tracer Project.
This article is about my impressions and if I will stay here or switch permanently?
My first impression is good. The site provides everything you might need for an online medium: articles, the possibility to categorize articles, sharing, commenting — just like WordPress does.
However, it offers you the option to highlight parts of the text, and with this comment only a particular part and share only just the key thought of the article with your peers.
Everything is a story
Anything you do at Medium, you create a story. Your articles are stories, which is OK. Your comments are stories (regardless if they are highlight-comments or regular comments), and that’s not so groovy in my eyes.
I understand the idea behind this: you have one data model, which represents a textual content. People can respond to it and show you their support with claps (more on claps later). But somehow this idea, clapping on comments, is a bit strange to me.
Anyway, I am sometimes confused about stories. I like to distinguish articles from comments and highlights and so on. I think if I’d use “story” instead of “article,” it would create some confusion.
As mentioned previously, you can show your support to the writer of an article or comment with claps. This seems like a new feature because there are many articles on this topic: What is a clap worth? Is a single clap an insult? Why can you clap 50, not 10 or 100?
Because it is a new feature, the usability is horrible. At least I was not introduced how this clapping thing works; the site just showed me that I can clap and this means I support the author. No information on the number of claps I can give. When I wanted to revoke a clap by clicking on the symbol, I added another. No introduction either on how to remove claps.
I have no idea how I shall clap. I started with one clap if I liked something (just like with liking here at WordPress). But now I give five claps if I like a story or a bit more if I enjoy reading along the way. But I could live with one clap (like/love/happy-face) too.
If you want to add code snippets, it is not easy (honestly, WordPress hasn’t solved this yet too). Sometimes I try to add inline code: variable or method names, or something like this. But it seems not working. I do everything as described but I cannot get it right. I imagine, the keyboard shortcut works with English layouts but not with German?
Anyway, to include multi line code, I use Gist because it is well supported and you get code highlighting too. This approach fits into the separation of concerns principle: do one thing and do it well. Medium offers a great platform for reading and writing newspaper-like content, and GitHub provides a platform for storing and editing code.
Naturally, there is a premium feature too. TANSTAAFL. For $5 you can have unlimited access to articles, and your claps share your membership fee among authors.
The first part is obvious if you read a while on Medium. You will sooner or later encounter locked articles. This means that partners of Medium (actually well visited and highly engaged authors and publishers) can lock their articles to paying members. As a regular Medium reader, you are allowed only three locked items in a month. Most of the time this is not a problem, I’ve found only three articles which were locked yet. I assume this number will be on the rise as more authors become members.
The second part is a bit complex, but imagine it like an abonnement on your favorite paper. You get exclusive content delivered to you, and for this, you pay a monthly fee. This fee is distributed among the authors you read and like. This engages the authors to write more and better content.
One more thing you get with a paid membership is offline reading. You can bookmark articles to read later, and you can read them if even if you have no internet connection. I have no idea how well it works, but I’d give it a try — if I could read my articles on my reading device, which is not my notebook nor my phone. I prefer something in-between, like a Kindle or perhaps a reMarkable (if I can afford it).
When to upgrade?
I cannot answer this question for you. You have to decide yourself.
As for me, I have currently no plan to sign-up for a membership. This is because I didn’t find any premium content I will support. Honestly, I am a Medium-reader since two weeks or so.
Another reason, I won’t upgrade is that I find very good free articles which I support with claps. I have a handful of authors I follow. If they advance into the paid sector, I’ll think about upgrading. $5 in a month is not a big deal. I already pay as much for Spotify to avoid advertisements and get offline content.
One reason, I’ll consider, are too many locked articles. As mentioned already, you can read three locked articles in a month. Currently I read bookmarked articles and I have one locked pending — for my october contingent. If these articles pile up, I’ll upgrade.
@Medium: do you plan to support PayPal too?
Will I write premium content?
I do not think so. Currently, I’m driven by sharing my little knowledge with everyone who is interested. I have not a big base of followers, yet fewer comments on my articles. Therefore, it is unlikely, that the Medium Staff will accept my submission to become a partner.
Besides this, I do not think I could make a good living out of writing, for now. Perhaps if my reputation grows and I get a lot of support, I’ll consider professional writing. Until that, I’ll stay on the readers’ site.
Although I like Medium, I’ll stick with WordPress for the majority of my articles. That’s because I have better support for my spell checker here (well, I am poor at grammar, so I’m using Grammarly). But to gain more views and to spread my thoughts better, I’m posting this and my future articles to the new platform too.
An interesting thought: will this make my Google-score worse because the same content is made available on two mediums (no pun intended)?