Nicolas Magand on the internet

Comments about tech, media, nature, &c.

My name is Nicolas Magand and I live in Paris, France. I work as a social media and engagement editor at the Global Editors Network, a non-profit aimed at promoting innovation and sustainability in the news industry. Here I blog mostly about tech and media, but many other topics can face my enthusiasm.

Filtering by Tag: medium

Time, thoughts, tools: pick two

The last few days, I discovered a few new tools or platforms from which you can publish blog entries (hat tip to Dense Discovery for most of them). Small Victories, Listed, Blot… All three platforms aim to make blogging easier than ever: by pluging themselves on top of the tools you already use. Whether it is through Dropbox folders or the Simple Notes app, they all seem Template-based and hassle-free. If you are on the newsletter bandwagon, your Substack archive can also be used as a blog.

All of this is probably a good sign that blogging is thriving, or needs to thrive again in the age of platforms (looking at you, Medium.)

Along with the magnificent Squarespace (or Kirby, or even Svbtle which I used before), it probably has never been easier to publish on your own blog. The days of setting up a WordPress just for a personal blog seem over, and I have not seen anyone using MarsEdit for ages.

If this is a golden age for blogs, then why has this one not been updated since February ? As Carl Barenbrug says, well, on his own blog, Twitter may be the culprit :

Although we are starting to see a new wave of blogging, many people use Twitter as a means to express themselves. I still use Twitter, so I can see some value in this platform, particularly to make personal and professional connections through common interests, or to simply share something I like. However, Twitter is also a tool that encourages negative, impulsive, and ill-considered behaviour. It doesn’t really keep our minds healthy—much like all social media—in the sense that we are constantly looking to see who has responded or engaged with what we have published.

When I see something interesting, rather than saving it, digesting it, deciding whether it should appear on the blog or Twitter, I tend to just tweet or retweet right away. Maybe it is lazyness, maybe it is the need to be among the firsts, but time management has become the hardest part of blogging.

The cost of free platforms

Owen Williams, writing in the Charged newsletter about Medium's latest pivot, one that is actually pivoting away from publishers, after opening its arms to them at first:

All of this is to say: Medium is great, but be wary! Owning your own platform is important, and valuable, even at this point in the internet's maturity cycle.

This part really comforts me into my choice of platform for this very blog. Sure, I do not 'own' the whole thing (it's Squarespace), but one thing we forget too often when mentioning platforms is the – very tricky – word 'free'.

If you don't pay for something with money, you usually pay by giving away some of your data. Most people are OK with this idea, and that is fine. Such data can be used to improve products, and that is why Google Photos and Gmail – to name a few – are so good at what they do while also being free to use. But if you're not paying with actual money, platform companies will never consider you as the true customer, they may never adjust their products to better suit you, they might never help you get your content out once they disappear.

Medium is not alone is this neglect of its users, Twitter is acting up like this with developpers and power users too.

1. The short notice those publishers were initially given is telling you how much people at Medium think. ↩︎

2. After seeing the failed experiment of – now defunct – The Awl, and now this, which publisher would trust Medium now? Medium burned a bridge on that one, but without publishers on its side, how can it charms users enough to pay? ↩︎

3. This blog used to be hosted on the great and minimalist Svbtle platform. Their Svbtle Promise is a fantastic commitment to the paying users of the service. (I switched to Squarespace to merge, a couple of Tumblr blogs, and the main blog into one platform. If it has been just for Hypertexter, you'd probably read those lines on Svbtle. ↩︎