👓 Why Elizabeth Warren should be on the open web | Dave Winer

Read Why Elizabeth Warren should be on the open web by Dave Winer (Scripting News)
Why the open web is a better choice for a thoughtful and futuristic campaign like Warren's.

Many of my own thoughts reflected here.

A Modest Proposal Review

Will you look at this?! Twitter has recreated the WordPress Gutenberg editor interface into their web product. Currently it only has a few blocks for text, photos, gifs, video, embeds, and polls, but it’s not completely horrible and it’s relatively fast and convenient.

The Gutenberg editor in WordPress:

The title of the pending post is "Hello to the New Editor"
Screen capture of the new Gutenberg interface

In fact it appears that they’ve pared the editor down substantially. A few more tweaks and it might be as clean as the Medium editor experience.

Want to add a video, just drop a youtube link:

Want to embed a blog post from somewhere else? Add the link in your tweet and get a spiffy Twitter Card (just like oEmbed!)

An Introduction to the IndieWeb

I can see people getting awfully tired of clicking that “plus” button interminably though. Maybe if the interface could algorithmically choose where to break text the same way it determines what tweets I’m going to see?

Now they just need an edit button and they’ve got a “real” blogging experience, but one that’s editable in tiny 280 character chunks. Who has the attention span for more content than this anyway?

I can already tell that newspapers and magazines are going to love this. Just imagine the ease of doing shareable pull quotes this way?!

I can see journalistic institutions rebuilding their entire platforms on Twitter already!

Old CMS -> Tumblr -> Medium -> Twitter!

What is your favorite editing experience?

  • The Tweetstorm-o-matic
  • WordPress’ Gutenberg
  • WordPress Classic Editor
  • Medium

Uh oh! I’m noticing that they’ve neglected to put a block in for a title area. Maybe we could just do a really short tweet up at the top of the thread instead? If only we could drag and drop tweets to reorder them? At least you can add new tweets into the middle of the stream.

Besides, who’s going to read anything but the headline tweet anyway. No one is ever going to read this far into a tweetstorm. Maybe a blog post where they at least know what they’re getting into, but never a 20+ card tweetstorm.

And would you look at that? They almost jumped ahead of Medium on inline annotations by allowing people to reply to very specific pieces of the text. I’m kind of disappointed that they don’t have the pretty green highlighter colors though.

Screencapture from Medium.com with an example of an inline response.
An inline annotation on the text “Hey Ev, what about mentions?” in which Medium began to roll out their @mention functionality.

Now if only I could register a custom domain on their service and have control over the CSS, Twitter could be a first class open web CMS.

#​I​CanOnlyDream

*Sigh* I suppose until then I’ll just stick with my humble little website that allows me to own and control my own data on my own domain name and communicate with others using simple web standards.

#​​IndieWebForever

👓 Medium import for Micro.blog | Manton Reece

Read Medium import for Micro.blog by Manton ReeceManton Reece (manton.org)
Micro.blog can now import blog posts from Medium. You can request a .zip archive of your content from Medium.com, then go to Posts → Import on Micro.blog to upload the file. Because Medium no longer supports custom domain names, we don’t think it’s a good long-term solution for blogging. If yo...

This is some awesome news, particularly for all the people fleeing Medium. Now they can own their own data on their own domain a whole lot easier. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of the crowd joining Micro.blog as an option too.

👓 Why I’m Leaving Medium | Praxis – Medium

Read Why I’m Leaving Medium by Tiago Forte (Praxis – Medium)
I’ve been writing on Medium for three and a half years.

Some of these reasons are very pragmatic for everyone, but he’s also got some business specific ones that touch on things many small businesses would want control over as well. He additionally points out some very subtle changes in media for people who are reaching out to niche audiences. Some of this is reminiscent to things Leo Laporte has spoken about in the past with respect to leaving television and cable to start a podcast network, except in that case there really wasn’t a huge amount of competing media, so instead of moving to silos (which didn’t exist at the time for his use case) he went straight to using his own platform.

👓 Signal v Noise exits Medium | Signal v. Noise

Read Signal v Noise exits Medium by DHH (Signal v. Noise)
Three years ago we embraced an exciting new publishing platform called Medium. It felt like a new start for a writing community, and we benefitted immensely from the boost in reach and readership those early days brought. But alas it was not to last. When we moved over, Medium was all about attracti...

Some interesting motivations here for leaving Medium (or even social media–they’ve already indicated they were leaving Facebook.)

Itch: UI for creating a TK editorial mark

Logged an itch UI for creating a TK editorial mark (indieweb.org)
TK is an abbreviated editorial mark made when writing, proofreading, or editing to indicate that a portion of the piece is to come some time in the future.

TK is an abbreviated editorial mark made when writing, proofreading, or editing to indicate that a portion of the piece is to come some time in the future.

Writers often use the combination when writing so as not to slow down the flow of their thought when they might otherwise need to look something up or do some research.

Because the letter combination TK is very rare in the English language it is easy to do a search or search/replace for the mark in digital documents.

Examples

Medium

When composing text in Medium if one writes a stand alone TK within the text, the text editor shows a yellow TK within the margin as an indicator to return to that place to finish the thought(s).

Example of a TK editorial mark in the Medium.com user interface.

See also

  • editor
  • create
  • UI

👓 Custom Domains service deprecation | Medium

Read Custom Domains service deprecation (Medium Support)
Medium is no longer offering new custom domains as a feature. Instead, you can create a publication on Medium that will live on a medium.com/publication-name URL. Existing publications on custom do...

The amount of work required to support this feature should be exceedingly low. It’s probably a good indication that Medium won’t be around within a year or so.

This definitely signals the fact that Medium has moved toward the more silo end of the spectrum from a data ownership standpoint. While I might have recommended it with reservations as a potential IndieWeb solution, this change means I can’t recommend it at all.

👓 The Billionaire’s Typewriter | Butterick’s Practical Typography

Read The billionaire’s typewriter by Matthew But­t­er­ick (Butterick’s Practical Typography)
A friend pointed me to a story on Medium called “Death to Type­writ­ers,” by Medium de­signer Marcin Wichary. The story is about the in­flu­ence of the type­writer on dig­i­tal type­set­ting. It ref­er­ences my “ex­cel­lent list” of type­writer habits.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

Min­i­mal­ism doesn’t fore­close ei­ther ex­pres­sive breadth or con­cep­tual depth. On the con­trary, the min­i­mal­ist pro­gram—as it ini­tially emerged in fine art of the 20th cen­tury—has been about di­vert­ing the viewer’s at­ten­tion from overt signs of au­thor­ship to the deeper pu­rity of the ingredients.  

This also sounds like a great way to cook!

Like all non­sense, it’s in­tended to be easy to swal­low.  

You’re giv­ing up far more than de­sign choice. Mr. Williams de­scribes Medium’s key ben­e­fit as res­cu­ing writ­ers from the “ter­ri­ble dis­trac­tion” of for­mat­ting chores. But con­sider the cost. Though he’s bait­ing the hook with de­sign, he’s also ask­ing you, the writer, to let him con­trol how you of­fer your work to read­ers. Mean­ing, to get the full ben­e­fit of Medium’s de­sign, you have to let your story live on Medium, send all your read­ers to Medium, have your work per­ma­nently en­tan­gled with other sto­ries on Medium, and so on—a sig­nif­i­cant concession.  

You’re definitely not owning your own data.

Boiled down, Medium is sim­ply mar­ket­ing in the ser­vice of more mar­ket­ing. It is not a “place for ideas.” It is a place for ad­ver­tis­ers. It is, there­fore, ut­terly superfluous.  

Reply to Why we transitioned from Medium back to our own blog | Baremetrics

Replied to Why we transitioned from Medium back to our own blog by Josh Pigford (Baremetrics)
Where to publish something has becoming a difficult decision for a lot of businesses. You read so many stories about using various channels to distribute content and grow traffic, it’s hard to know what does and doesn’t work. Medium, in particular, has become a major player in the world of startup content, but is it really that great? [...] The numbers just didn’t make sense. Yes, I could put more into Medium and try to build up readership even more. The guys at Basecamp regularly get 250k+ views on their content. But doing that helps Medium the most in the long run. They’ve been fumbling left and right trying to figure out how to make Medium sustainable, and I’m just not convinced they’ll always do what’s best for us and our business. Switching back Now I didn’t want to throw out distribution on Medium entirely. There can definitely be some benefit to syndicating content there. It’s essentially another distribution channel to expose people to our content. So we needed a game plan on how we could still make use of Medium as a distribution channel without cannibalizing our own readership or SEO work.

This is 100% on the mark, you should definitely own your own content. Syndicating it out to Medium is a great idea, particularly when you can get a rel=”canonical” tag for the original on Medium. Incidentally Medium has their own WordPress plugin that will allow you to quickly and easily syndicate your site’s content directly to Medium without needing to separately import it. It’s also available on a per post basis.

But, even with this, you’re only getting 50% of the value of having your own website because you’ve only got one way communication out. Next you’ll need communication back in. What if I said you could get a lot of the comments, likes, and interactions from those other silos back into your website too? This way the conversations others are having relating to your content also come back to your site and enrich it there? What if you could own all (or almost all) of the conversation around your content?

Think about it, what if there was an @mention functionality that worked from website to website instead of being stuck inside Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Flickr etc.? Interestingly, it exists! And you can set it up for free with last year’s new W3C Webmention protocol which already has WordPress plugins ready to go. Roughly for WordPress you’ll need the Webmentions plugin, the Semantic Linkbacks plugin, the Syndication Links plugin, a few strategically placed rel=”me” tags on your site, (maybe some tweaks to your microformats on your theme), and a free Brid.gy account. Details for setting it up can be found on the WordPress pages of the indieweb.org website. I suspect if you’re strong enough to have figured out the tech for your article, you could probably have it up and running in under an hour or so. Then instead of feeding content from your blog to the black hole of social media, you could have actual two-way communication with many social silos! Now you won’t need to pay as much attention to those other sites as you can use your WordPress site as an “app” to interact with them instead.

I’m happy to help walk you through it if you’re interested and need help. My own personal site has some documentation of some of the above as well as examples of how it works.

In some sense, hopefully this post on my site will be an interesting exemplar. I own it and “loaned” or syndicated copies to Disqus and Twitter. Comments, likes and reposts you make to the Twitter copy will automatically be ported back here after the fact using Brid.gy. (Sadly, Disqus isn’t supported–yet.)

👓 Why You Should Put Your Content on Both Medium and Your Own Domain | sendcheckit

Read Why You Should Put Your Content on Both Medium and Your Own Domain (sendcheckit.com)
How to leverage your own site and Medium without duplicate content issues.