I love Medium. I do!
I love how they have truly help democratize content creation and publication.
They have given a voice to countless authors and content creators who previously lack the means and know-how to quickly and easily publish content and find an audience.
Probably one of the things I love the most about Medium is that it’s editor (where you actually write your content) is as minimalistic and distractions free as it could possibly be.
In the past I’ve tried writing on my own WordPress blog, but found myself spending more time updating and tweak the theme and plugins than writing. Too many distractions.
Thank God, Medium took that all away!
Click the “Write” button and a beautiful white canvas opens in front of you with an insertion point and not much else.
Start writing and you get access to a handful of formatting tools. Pretty much zero distractions. Just you, the page and the words that you put in it.
Up to this point, I love the writing experience. The product pretty much is invisible and gets completely out of the way, allowing the writer to do what the writer came here to do: write.
When I’m in a very creative mode, and as I’m writing a new post, I start to think about seven other articles that I’d like to write. I open a new tab, click “Write”, put a few ideas down and then let Medium safe my new draft while I return to my previous writing space.
By doing this, I end up creating a lot of drafts for future articles ideas, and here’s where my problems and frustration with Medium start.
NOTE: I’m fully aware that what I’m about to describe may not be the type of company and/or product that Medium is seeking to be and that could explain why the poor experience in other areas of the product. Yet, I feel that there are some pretty basic and minimalistic enhancements that could be introduced that would make the actual content management experience quite a bit better thus enhancing the value of the platform by keeping users on the site for longer periods of time and longer parts of the creative process which would result, not only on a better experience for content creators but also more value for Medium itself.
I just finished deleting 74 drafts from my Medium account. Yup, DELETED IT! But don’t worry, nothing’s lost. I just relocated them to a tool (which for now should remain unnamed) that actually allows me to have more control over the creative (write, edit, review, re-write, edit, …, publish) flow and process.
Well, because I find the process of managing my drafts on Medium extremely frustrating.
For me, and this is highly subjective as we all probably have similar yet different creative workflows, all drafts are not created equal. Some are early stage ideas or a first rough draft. Some are undergoing their first edit. Other ones have been scheduled for publication and a few are ready to be published right now, I just haven’t clicked the “Publish” button yet.
But when I look at the Drafts view non of this information is readily visible and available. You can’t tag an article as “first-draft” or “in-review”, easily access the topics or even see when a draft is schedule for publication.
To make matters worst, there’s no filtering or sorting. The last article that you edit (even if all you did was just adding a single “.”) gets pushed to the top of the Drafts list, so you can’t even count on the articles at the top as being ready for publication or pending the schedule.
You need to go into and article and navigate, through a series of clicks and menus scattered across multiple different menus and pages, to some hidden setting just to make some basic changes to the articles descriptions and metadata.
Here’s where the frustration of having to manage the complexity of my own WordPress instance returns to hunt me down.
For a tool that strives to be simple, minimalistic, easy and direct to use, managing context on Medium is highly complex and frustrating.
Part of the problem is that, sometimes, we confuse simple with simplicity not realizing that creating something simple can be quite complex.
So until Medium makes some improvements to other areas of content creation and management workflow I’ll be doing my content creation somewhere else and only return here when I have a finished piece ready to Publish.
The sad thing about this is that Medium still gets the value of all of us, content creators, publishing here, which increases the value of Medium as a company, even if we are only getting limited value from the platform itself!