Non abbiamo bisogno di Medium

L'avvocato esperto di tipografia e font, Matthew Butterickrisponde molto secco al designer di Medium colpevole di aver dichiarato a morte le macchine da scrivere in questo post.

Una faccenda da vecchi tromboni del web, ma che tuttavia nasconde alcune riflessioni per nulla banali e sulle quali vale la pena evitare di passarci sopra troppo a cuor leggero. 

Secondo Butterick, la nuova creatura di Ev Williams, fondatore fra tante altri oggetti del Web di Blogger, non ĆØ altro che un esperimento marketing molto ben riuscito che con molta semplicitĆ  sta cercando di uniformare la produzione di contenuti. Medium sta riuscendo nell'impresa di proporre pubblicazioni stilisticamente tutte simili tra loro utilizzando il minimalismo come baluardo.

Sono piuttosto d'accordo con Butterick. Abbiamo conquistato la possibilitĆ  di pubblicare ognuno con il proprio stile, non solo quando si tratta di contenuti, ma anche di design. Non uniformarsi ĆØ il solo modo di restare liberi sempre

Ecco alcuni passaggi. 

As for that enĀ­tanĀ­gleĀ­ment among stoĀ­ries, Mr. Williams has conĀ­cededthat itā€™s ā€œconĀ­fusĀ­ing.ā€ But this amĀ­biĀ­guĀ­ity isnā€™t a bug. Itā€™s an esĀ­senĀ­tial feaĀ­ture of the busiĀ­ness plan. The goal is to creĀ­ate the ilĀ­luĀ­sion that everyĀ­thing on Medium beĀ­longs to one edĀ­iĀ­toĀ­rĀ­ial ecosysĀ­tem, as if itā€™s the New York Times.

But unĀ­like the Times, Medium pays for only a small fracĀ­tion of its stoĀ­ries. The rest are subĀ­mitĀ­tedā€”for freeā€”by writĀ­ers like you. AfĀ­ter a long time beĀ­ing eluĀ­sive about its busiĀ­ness model, Medium reĀ­vealed that it plans to make money byā€”surĀ­prise!ā€”sellĀ­ing adĀ­verĀ­tisĀ­ing. This means disĀ­playĀ­ing ads, but also colĀ­lectĀ­ing and sellĀ­ing data about readĀ­ers and writĀ­ers. So Medium will exĀ­tract revĀ­enue from every story, whether it paid for that story or not.

In truth, Mediumā€™s main prodĀ­uct is not a pubĀ­lishĀ­ing platĀ­form, but the proĀ­moĀ­tion of a pubĀ­lishĀ­ing platĀ­form. This proĀ­moĀ­tion brings readĀ­ers and writĀ­ers onto the site. This, in turn, genĀ­erĀ­ates the usĀ­age data thatā€™s valuĀ­able to adĀ­verĀ­tisĀ­ers. Boiled down, Medium is simĀ­ply marĀ­ketĀ­ing in the serĀ­vice of more marĀ­ketĀ­ing. It is not a ā€œplace for ideas.ā€ It is a place for adĀ­verĀ­tisĀ­ers. It is, thereĀ­fore, utĀ­terly superfluous.

ā€œBut what about all the writĀ­ing on Medium?ā€ The meaĀ­sure of suĀ­perĀ­fluity is not the writĀ­ing on Medium. Rather, itā€™s what Medium addsto the writĀ­ing. ReĀ­call the quesĀ­tion from above: how does Medium imĀ­prove the InĀ­terĀ­net? I havenā€™t seen a sinĀ­gle story on Medium that couldnā€™t exĀ­ist equally well elseĀ­where. Nor evĀ­iĀ­dence that Mediumā€™s editĀ­ing and pubĀ­lishĀ­ing tools are a manĀ­iĀ­fest imĀ­proveĀ­ment over what you can do with other tools.

In sumā€”still superfluous.

As writĀ­ers, we donā€™t need comĀ­paĀ­nies like Medium to tell us how to use the web. Or deĀ­fine openĀ­ness and democĀ­racy. Or tell us whatā€™s a ā€œwaste of [our] timeā€ and whatā€™s not. Or deĀ­terĀ­mine how and where readĀ­ers exĀ­peĀ­riĀ­ence our work. We need to deĀ­cide those things for ourselves.