If Medium were more humble, or if they had competition, I would
relax about it. But I remember how much RSS suffered for being
dominated by Google. And Google was a huge company and could have
afforded to run Google Reader forever at a loss. Medium is a
startup, a well-funded one for sure, but they could easily pivot
and leave all the stories poorly served, or not served at all. I’m
sure their user license doesn’t require them to store your writing
perpetually, or even until next week.
I only want to point to things that I think have a chance at
existing years from now. And things that are reasonably
unconflicted, where I feel I understand where the author is coming
from. Neither of those criteria are met by posts on Medium. I also
want to preserve the ability of developers to innovate in this
area. If Medium sews up this media type, if they own it for all
practical purposes, as Google owned RSS (until they dropped it),
then you can’t move until they do. And companies with monopolies
have no incentive to move forward, and therefore rarely do. Look
at how slowly Twitter has improved their platform, and all the new
features are for advertisers, not for writers. I suspect Medium
will go down a similar path.
The comparison to Google Reader is perfect. Google Reader was both (a) the most popular thing that ever happened to RSS, and (b) the worst thing that ever happened to RSS.