The Decline of

I still fondly remember when Medium first hit the scene. Everyone loved the quality of the writing and variety, every article I read was seemingly well-written and of high quality.

Fast forward to 2017 and Medium has become the equivalent of a never-ending TED Talk. Everyone wants to improve my life and tell me how to be a better person.

The good articles are still there, but there is a serious imbalance of content going on, with the “X things you need to do for a better life” or “How to be a better X”

At the time of writing this, here are some of the titles of Medium articles under the popular topic. As you’re reading them, picture someone in a argyle sweater holding a piccolo latte and wearing black rimmed glasses on a TED stage reading these out as they pace the stage back and forth with long pauses between their words.

  • Our clothes can change who we are
  • It’s a Good Thing Some People Don’t Like You
  • How To Deal With Uncomfortable Emotions And Reshape Your Identity
  • 5 Mental Biases That Cause Poor Decisions
  • 30 Behaviors That Will Make You Unstoppable
  • Willpower Doesn’t Work. Here’s How to Actually Change Your Life
  • I Once Talked To Seth Godin On The Phone: Here’s How It Changed My Life and Business

I am not saying there isn’t a market for these kind of articles and heck, I would be lying to you if I said I hadn’t read one or two of these do-gooder, improve your shitty life articles on Medium before.

Medium has become a real life living TED Talk with some of Tony Robbin’s, “my life is so great and here is how your life can be great too” mantra injected in there somewhere.

It is for this reason, I find myself not going to Medium as much as I used too. The content doesn’t appeal to me and when it does, there is usually a downside somewhere along the way.

It’s not that I am a negative person, I just find these “positive” improve your life articles to be mostly full of shit. I often wonder if Tony Robbin’s truly believes in what he preaches at his expensive events or if he just likes the feeling of money against his skin as he bathes in it on his elevated mansion overlooking the sad common folk.

I follow programming topics on Medium mostly and even then, for Javascript specifically it has devolved into comparison posts pitting frameworks and libraries against one another.

The comparison articles on Medium (which I am guilty of blogging here myself) are mostly always poorly written and heavily one-sided. It’s rare you encounter a comparison article that is balanced.

Then there is the other side of Medium if you’re a content writer: lost ownership.

When you publish your content on Medium, you’re giving up control. Sure, you get to publish on a large centralised content platform with huge reach, but you’re beholden to a platform which exists to make money for its investors and pay its staff.

This means Medium can change the rules midway through the game and you have to deal with it. If Medium decide you have to start paying them or GTFO, you have a loaded gun pointed to your head (a bit of a theoretical, but still).

Self-publishing is the future of content, not publishing articles on a VC backed content platform.

3 responses to “The Decline of”

  1. Sean Hunter says:

    Nice post. You’ve put into words what I’ve been thinking for a while about Medium but couldn’t quite put my finger on. Another point is that because Medium is so crowded now it’s a lot more difficult to get noticed there anyway than it was in the beginning. Posting there is starting to see diminishing returns.

  2. Sivabudh Umpudh says:

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. Thank you for the post. I hope others see what Medium has become. TED of blogosphere.

  3. Dibya Das says:

    True stuff. Medium is slowly losing it’s charm. Much like Quora.

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