A message about Medium

2018-11-15 by Michaƫl Dupont

When I started hearing about Medium, a content publishing platform, a few years ago, it seemed like an interesting service. Now it serves as a cautionary tale about trusting with our data providers we don't control.

At first, they had a clean and pleasant reading experience. They had a powerful text editing interface. And more importantly, they had attracted talented, influential people who wrote interesting articles. It was good marketing.

Media theorist Marshall McLuhan famously said "The medium is the message", in that the means by which a message is transmitted influences how a message is perceived.

Medium was the cool, trendy place where smart people were publishing quality articles. The place where readers were taken into account and given a good experience. More and more projects and businesses started to use Medium for their blog. News aggregators often had Medium-hosted articles in their top links.

Then came a small change. The started displaying a full-page popup to coerce visitors into subscribing.

Nowadays, everytime I am about to click on a link to an article published on Medium, I hesitate. I know the popup will come annoy me.

I am not alone, as I see growing dissatisfaction online about the change. What's disappointing is that they were promising a good reading experience. They tout it themselves as one of their selling points. And they broke that promise. They broke one of their first principles.

As a result, the perception of the service is changing. It's becoming another service who did a classic "bait and switch" move to juice out profits, without a thought for their readers.

And as the perception of the medium grows more negative, the perception of the message is affected in the same way. For a good perception, go elsewhere. The medium is the message, even for Medium.