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Another blog space

My previous post on this site was nearly three years ago, in May 2016. It began,

I admit – I sort of forgot about this website.

The previous post was one year prior.

You’re seeing this as the first post I’ve published in this space in three years, but it’s the second one I’ve drafted.

I’ve returned.

Every few years I go back and forth between one blog and several. Last April I began posting to Medium regularly. I was happy with it and still am, but my friend Sameer raised good points for me to consider when he told me that he doesn’t use Medium anymore. In the past, he kept a blog on his own domain and also cross-posted to Medium.

In a Twitter direct message, he told me that he would read my stories on Medium but not engage with them, on principle. I emailed him for more information. Here’s what he told me:

I’m not completely sold on a company hosting and owning my data; I’m all in on being in control over my content

He then referred me to a blog post at the Signal vs. Noise website.

Signal v Noise exits Medium

Here are a few points:

  • “These days Medium is focused on their membership offering, though.”
  • “We write because we have something to say, not to make money off page views, advertisements, or subscriptions. ” – I admit, I like it when I make a few cents off my writing.
  • “Beyond that, though, we’ve grown ever more aware of the problems with centralizing the internet. ” – And there’s that. I honestly can’t decide how I feel about it.

My thoughts

The advantages of Medium

  • Medium is a place to get eyes on my work, which is why I started using it in the first place. It was part of a visibility challenge that I gave myself.
  • The interface is easy.
  • It’s a community which means that
    1. If my articles are good, they might be algorithmically sent to thousands of people in a daily newsletter.
    2. Responding to other people’s posts make it more likely that they’ll see yours.

The disadvantages of Medium

  • I don’t own my content
  • Medium as a company might make some significant changes that will require users to migrate all their content.
  • This might be an advantage or a disadvantage: I feel that because more people are likely to find my articles on Medium, the quality has to be exceptional. When I know that few people will see it, I feel that I don’t have to worry about perfection. Some of my articles are inspired but in my opinion end up being mediocre pieces of writing.

The advantages of a self-hosted blog

  • I like the idea of owning my own content on my own website.
  • In some ways there’s more control over it.

The disadvantages of self-hosted content with WordPress

  1. WordPress: I don’t like the newest version of WordPress at all. On my wellness website, it doesn’t play well with my theme. On all websites, it doesn’t play well with Grammarly, which I use to check grammar and spelling. The reason that WordPress no longer plays well with Grammarly is that each paragraph is a content box, and so Grammarly checks each section individually rather than the entire page at once.

    Overall, I find that sometimes content blocks duplicate themselves and occasionally posts revert back to old drafts, even when the preview looks correct. This entire paragraph gave me trouble and required editing in HTML because of issues controlling it in the visual editor. These are just some of the issues that cause frustration. 
  2. Audience: Fewer people will see my blog because they don’t know to look.

There might be more benefits and disadvantages of both that I’m not thinking of at the moment.

For now?

I’ll keep posting to Medium, and here, on this domain, with a new theme that I found and really like. I’ll draft some posts in Google Docs before copying them over to my WP sites.

About a month ago, someone emailed me to ask for this domain name. The message that I had on the website’s home screen was that the domain had been retired because I hadn’t used it in a while and so she tracked me down through the domain registrar. I took nearly a month to respond because I honestly didn’t know what I wanted to do with the domain name before its expiry next spring. When I did respond, I gave her a short version of what I said here: That I hadn’t decided what to do with it and might use it as a blog again.

I might still eventually give andreawrites.ca to Andrea M., but for now, I’ll hold onto it.

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