June 3, 2013
A few years ago, I worked myself into a daily blogging routine. Each morning I would pound out a 500-word post, hit “publish” and go on about my day.
I was living in Portland, Ore. at the time, a strange place where I had no real connection or kinship. It was just me, my now-wife, our modest 600 square-foot apartment, a workaday job and a big, weird city surrounding us.
Inspiration was never lacking.
I wrote about chatting with a man outside my apartment as he was, unbeknownst to me, stealing a wheel off of my bike. I wrote about a man who died from self-immolation in protest of fur clothing. I wrote about the 2010 Nike Hoop Summit, where I interviewed future NBA stars Kyrie Irving, Harrison Barnes, Jared Sullinger and Tristan Thompson as they were seniors in high school.
I wrote. And I loved it. Blogging emboldened me to experience life with zest and gave me a regular occasion to pause and consider my own thoughts, beliefs, interests and ideas.
Then, I quit blogging. What happened?
First, I came to Fast Horse, where I have felt creatively and intellectually stimulated since the day I started. Writing has become a huge part of my job (as evidenced by this very blog post), which is probably why I do so little of it now in my free time.
Second, I started tweeting. Twitter offered the instant gratification I could never get with blogging. With Twitter, I knew I had a built-in list of followers who were more likely to at-reply to my 140 characters than write a thoughtful comment to a 500-word post. Twitter just felt more like a dialogue. Oh, and I didn’t have to wake up super early to make time for it.
Lately, though, I have been trying to get back into a regular blogging routine. That’s why I am really excited about Medium, a minimalist publishing platform that’s a lot like the opposite of Tumblr. The site’s intro page says it all:
“Now that we’ve made sharing information virtually effortless, how do we increase the depth of understanding, while also creating a level playing field that encourages great ideas coming from anywhere? In short, we think that words (still) matter, so we built a better system for sharing them … Medium is designed to get out of the way and let you write.”
As a blogger, one feels obligated to include multiple forms of media to keep readers entertained. Bloggers are told visual assets — videos, images, infographics, GIFs, lists, social buttons, etc. — can make a post more interesting and dynamic. (To be fair, analytics broadly support this claim.) But anymore, it’s as if the words, the real meat of a post, quite simply are not enough.
But Medium blows that philosophy to bits and gives bloggers platform that’s dedicated to words. Not that the layout is boring. Medium posts are beautiful no matter if you read them on a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone. (See the photo at the top of this post for an example.) And my very favorite part: There’s an in-text comment system. If there’s a particular passage that interests the reader, they can post a comment in the margin alongside it rather than at the end of a post where they passage may be a distant memory.
Medium is still in its beta version. In fact, I haven’t even been given access to post yet. But, I am really enjoying what I’m reading — sweet, carefully crafted words. I think I have finally found good reason to get up out of bed every weekday morning and blog.
[h/t to John Meyer for introducing me to Medium.]