May 23, 2016

✖︎ Not the Right Medium

One of the things I was looking forward to quite a bit last year was the advent of Bill Simmons’ new site. He launched his new podcast late last year, eclipsing 100 episodes last week, and we knew he’d have a new HBO show. Fortunately, the promo for Any Given Wednesday has me pretty excited.

His new site, however, is what I was really excited for. I love his style of writing and his love for sports and pop culture. But then Simmons decided to launch The Ringer with Medium…

I’ve had mixed feelings about Medium for the most part. I think it looks great and is a fantastic conceptual idea that really clicks with me (and many others apparently) but in the actual implementation it is extremely lacking.

So when Simmons announced Medium as the home for The Ringer I was skeptical but not overly pessimistic right away. I was worried The Ringer would fall into the ether that is Medium. Clinging to my hope for a Grantland successor, I made the assumption that working together, they would make something unique, setting it apart from the rest of Medium, but still being just as accessible as any other publication.

The Awl made their official switch to Medium today and much of my optimism for The Ringer has vanished. The Awl looks like every other Medium publication. There’s no personality, no whimsy, just Medium. If this is what Simmons has planned for The Ringer I am going to be extremely disappointed. Furthermore, if this is the future” of web publishing, then I think we are all in a lot of trouble.

I have no major problems with Medium as a whole, but the site doesn’t work the way my mind works. If I’m going to follow people or publications, I want to be able to easily get to those places right away. I don’t want a stream of what I’m following, that’s what Twitter is for. If anything, the way the app works today, the act of following, and the long form writing that is happening here is being devalued by not being prioritized and organized in a way that rewards following while also helping discoverability.

Although I’ve teetered back and fourth over Medium as a platform, I firmly stand in the anti-Medium camp if this is what we have to look forward to. Medium may be a beautiful site but when every site begins to look the same, the beauty vanishes.




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