Why I left Medium.com

Filip Hracek
3 min readNov 18, 2023

I’m grateful to this site for making long-form blogging “cool” again, back in the day, and for introducing quite a few people to the idea that online articles can look gorgeous. In 2012, when Medium started, most personal blogs looked terrible, and online writing centered around short-form Twitter and Facebook.

I would also be a hypocrite if I complained that Medium is trying to make money. Everybody does. (And, arguably, making money through membership fees is preferable to monetizing through ads.)

But I’ll say that Medium’s seemingly sudden shift towards “premium articles”, beginning around 2018, made it hard to know which of your texts were publicly accessible and which ones were behind a paywall — and that felt like a betrayal. At that time, I was just trying to write useful posts for as wide an audience as possible, and Medium became a nuisance instead of a useful tool. Almost overnight, my relationship to this site went from love to hate.

And it wasn’t because the site wanted money from me. I had the $5 a month. It was because it wanted money from others who just wanted to read my posts.

The new world

For a while, this meant that I just soured towards long-form writing, period. It felt like, wherever I would turn next, be it Ghost, WordPress or — god forbid — Facebook, I could expect a similar betrayal.

But this is changing now thanks to something I wouldn’t have ever predicted. People are getting sick and tired of beautiful, well-kept closed gardens. Internet denizens now begin to trust small, ugly, deeply personal sites more than they trust polished web apps from large corporations. (Given, of course, that the person behind the personal site is trustworthy.) I think this trend is called the “Small Web”, and I’m a fan.

I picked up my old filiph.net site and started adding articles to it: filiph.net/text. Turns out you can make web pages look pretty decent nowadays, even without a lot of custom typography or loads of CSS.

It also turns out that you don’t need a ton of analytics, “likes”, “claps”, comments or “linkbacks” for a blog to have its worth. You can just write in Markdown, use a simple script to generate the HTML, and a ready-made CI/CD workflow to deploy the blog after every change.

RSS still exists, but you can go even more rudimentary and start a newsletter (here’s mine).

For a more dynamic way of reaching the community, there’s always video (where people can actually, you know, see you and hear you), decentralized micro-blogging (Mastodon), and good old chat (nowadays known as Discord).

I’m pretty happy about the current trend. I don’t expect things will stay this way forever, and I don’t pretend the current state of the online blogging world is perfect. But now you know why you won’t be seeing me back on Medium in the future. As much as they probably paved the way for a new era of long-form text on the internet, they’re no longer a part of it.



Filip Hracek

I’m a pro­gram­ming buff with formal train­ing in jour­nal­ism. I build games, teach pro­gram­ming, explain things, and create silly soft­ware experiments.