Why I have (primarily) switched platform

It was with a heavy heart that I started a WordPress in the February of 2016. Opening up is painful and though I intended to keep it travel oriented, it quickly became my everything blog. A place where I could get personal, or talk about what I was cooking, or even some political noise. I built up my posts and got a bit of a readership, but now have realised it’s time to move on, slow these pastures to mellow as I explore fresher ground.

WIll I return? I will indeed! I will get into that shortly. But first, here is why I have moved to Medium.

Different strokes for different folks

WordPress is okay as a platform. It’s easy enough to get one and simple to share. There is 0 complexity in formatting or adding media to posts. It has the basics of being a platform down.

Where it fails is in really amplifying voices. In order to get your piece read you need to advertise repeatedly and draw in readers from your own social networks. Eventually you can build up a following, but it is a very slow process.

I’ve been on Medium 1 month and I’m already gathering a small number of fans, and garnering a decent number of views and reads beyond my own profiles. It’s a nice feeling. Which leads me to…

We live for the applause

Medium’s best innovation is giving people a clap button instead of a like button. This feature allows you clap up to 30 times for a post if you really like it. This lets users amplify the voices that they think really should be heard. This elevates those voices in an algorithm and spreads that writer’s piece further.

Responses on Medium are easy, and feel far more valuable than comments on WordPress. As WordPress is older, many accounts never respond. On Medium, comments mean higher rankings and so writers are incentivised to react to responders. It’s a useful system.

More eclectic fare

As I’ve suggested, my writing is eclectic. My topics are picked depending on what comes to my head first, and it therefore makes it harder to build an audience. Many people will only follow a person so they can big themselves up in that area.

Medium has an advantage in that it calculates what will reverberate wih you best based on what you’ve said interests you and who. You can follow a person for one thing but still see them for others. It’s a useful tool.

What I’ll stick with WordPress for

Regardless of my criticisms there are a few areas where WordPress is obviously superior. From what I can see, Medium’s openness facilitates easy movement between writers. Well, what if I want to keep them all in one place?

Perhaps there is a function that will perform this easily, but as far as I can tell it’s not automatically done like on WordPress.

The openness of the platform can sometimes feel eviscerating, as though the belly had been cut and the insides removed.

So for that reason, I will probably maintain a presence and some series’ on here. One benefit of the internet is that you don’t have to pick only one website for everything.

Coming up: 25 days of Christmas songs, what they mean, what they tell us, and why they make the season.

The writer of this piece is on Medium. You can find him here.


Shout a Bit


Of course Johnny appreciated the blistering array of starlit expanse and the possibilities it seemed to offer, but he declined to mention this to Kathryn. It would be too much of a hassle to tell her that she was in a part of Scotland where sharing dreams was a bit like sharing needles; it seemed like a good idea at the time but it only served to fuck you up. – Glue, Irvine Welsh

When you’re looking for some modern Scottish wisdom there’s are few better places to look than the denouement of an Irvine Welsh novel. He captures so much of what it means to be Scottish, to have an uneasiness with the world. As a people, we’re actually pretty closed off most of the time. To my friends this would probably seem impossible, I talk quite a lot given the smallest provocation, but the truth is that, as with I hope everyone, there’s a lot more ticking away behind the eyes.

I shout from time to time to get things heard.

This is why I was so pleased when my old family friend Becca wrote a post on here. I can remember her talking about writing when we were younger, she was thinking of journalism at that point, but life gets in the way. It has this horrible habit of providing different ideas and inspirations, but then also dropping some immediate rent pavement or credit card bill through the post. Just when you want to do something great, an election or a family issue happens. Sometimes it’s your responsibility to do something else. It’s always gratifying to see people press on regardless. To shout in a world or a culture which suggests silence more often than speaking.

Maybe it’s a hangover from that whole Victorian idea of kids being “seen but not heard”. For women, it might be because they are told they are chatty and some of them don’t want to be stereotypical. For me, I probably keep some things to myself because that’s what being a man is, as I was taught. Guys are more often taught to be angry than say they are sad. If you’re sad, then you’re Some Crybaby or something, but if you’re angry, but the right kind of angry, not the silly sort of whinging angry, then you are being assertive and reasonable. Think Tony Soprano struggling with his anxiety attacks and turning it into anger because misery isn’t the sort of thing you express if you’re a boss.

It’s the same with dreams. They aren’t considered the right things to talk about in some parts of Scotland. In certain culture there’s a silence about that whole part of a person. It doesn’t feel like we talk about our wants and desires nearly enough. And so my reaction to this is that we all need to shout a bit more.

We need to do something.

There’s something about seeing others doing stuff that is inspirational. It’s the feeling that you aren’t alone, that whatever question you’re asking is also troubling someone else. It’s not schadenfreud, a love of another’s misery, but more of a kind of understanding, a spiritual connection with people searching for meaning. That’s  why people read. People absolutely should read, as well as possibly creating work for people like me, it also gives you so much more than it takes. And if people should read, then it also follows that they should also write. People should shout a bit.

Fortunately, we live in an age of mass production as well as mass consumption. Mass distribution is at our fingertips. For sure there are some people who create a lot more than others and some people who consume a lot without feeding back in, but we’re essentially now all at the level where we can easily use loudspeakers that connect us to a hundred plus people. We can share what we like and build each other up. We can shout together. This is the good side of social media. It’s now easier than ever to get your message, your world view, out there. It’s thrilling. The rush of shouting for the plain fun of it.

There are some massive downsides to it, of course. Things said on the internet don’t often go away, unless the company hosting that information goes bust and nobody saved a copy. But really this is a bigger problem for those who are viciously mean online than for others. If you’re not some dick you should shout!

Use these lungs that the internet gifted you and cry out!

Of course it’s terrifying at first to put anything out there. The fear of criticism is real. Worry less about other people. The biggest problem is usually the fear itself.  And conquering that fear is the prize.

The writer of this piece likes writing things telling people to write things but tries to only do it once a month.