Medium Continues Dismantling Publications

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Only a few hours after I deleted by Work Futures publication from Medium, I received a mass email from Michael Sippey, Medium’s head of product, informing me of a change in the features related to publications on Medium.

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Apparently, Medium has decided to drop the feature that allows publication editors to request stories from other writers on Medium.

While publications will continue to be able to add writers and editors, the affordance that allows for a simple request when an editor has seen something worthy of publication will be turned off.

This is just the next step in backing away from publications.

Obviously, if Medium turns off the simple technique it grows harder for editors to make such requests because they don’t necessarily know the writer or a means to otherwise contact writers. I suppose that an editor could leave the request in a private note, as a comment, or as a reply, but these are not designed specifically for that purpose.

In the write up, Sippey does not state that the goal is to decrease the number of requests of this sort, but it seems obvious that will be the result.

Add this to the existing changes in publications — like blocking new publications from mapping domain names — the retreat from publications in Medium continues.

I’m not sure I mentioned it in earlier posts, but Medium provides no way to export a publication’s But Medium doesn’t allow us to export our followers, comments, or other social data. They own that. Is that fair?

As I wrote recently in Why I Am Moving Work Futures From Medium To Substack,

I admit to deep ambivalence about Medium, and my relationship with it. I will remain a reader, since there’s a lot of great writing here. But how much original content I write there remains to be seen. Without the draw of my own publication, it seems like just another LinkedIn or Forbes, except the opportunity to make a few bucks. Just another person moonlighting.

Again, like Uber. I like the ride-hailing service model for its utility, but I don’t agree with its business model, and I wouldn’t like to drive for Uber, I don’t think. Yes, I think the Uber analogy holds. Medium built and manages the platform that connects readers to writers, they set the prices, control the interactions, and run the money side. The writers control nothing except their content, and even that is overseen by Medium.

I’m betting publications will be totally closed down by the end of 2018.

Actually published at, but cross-posted here.

Written by

Founder, Work Futures. Editor, GigaOm. My obsession is the ecology of work, and the anthropology of the future.

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