Medium is only an edge server of your POSSE CDN, your own blog is the origin

People tend to be lazy (I am often) and chose the easiest tool to do the job, even if it's not the best one. Medium is the new Blogger[1], but with a much nicer content editing UI, and a cleaner presentation of content to readers[2]. People can create and account and start publish in a few minutes, it's really easy. But how can all this be free?

Medium can do anything with your content

Andrea Phillips already said it a few years ago in her post The Problem With Medium:

you’re giving your writing to a corporation for free, and they can do anything they want with it. Forever. Without paying you. Ever.

The Terms of Service have evolved since Andrea's post back in 2013, but are still to be carefully considered (emphasis mine):

By posting content to Medium, you give us a nonexclusive license to publish it on Medium Services, including anything reasonably related to publishing it (like storing, displaying, reformatting, and distributing it). In consideration for Medium granting you access to and use of the Services, you agree that Medium may enable advertising on the Services, including in connection with the display of your content or other information. We may also use your content to promote Medium, including its products and content. — Content rights & responsibilities section of current Medium Terms of Service

Of course, Medium is an obvious black sheep, but the same can be said about most other centralized and closed services.

Bad things can happen

Additionally, Medium is a service that can disappear like many others before, and your content might be lost. I will never accept to take such a risk for my content.

Also, there are sometimes issues with content moderation, like Peter O'Shaughnessy experienced:

Nothing like having your new blog post suspended by @Medium to remind you of the good old days of self-hosting 😳twitter.com/poshaughnessy/status/927833756865622017PH

Image from Tweet

Disappearing content can happen on any platform, like it did on Twitter recently, but when you don't own the platform, you don't have any way to fix the issue, you can just wait for the platform owner to do it, if it pleases him.

POSSE is the best option

POSSE means Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere.

Like Webmentions, POSSE is a creation of IndieWeb, which gives this description:

POSSE lets your friends keep using whatever they use to read your stuff (e.g. silo aggregators like Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, etc.).

It's a key part of why and how the IndieWeb movement is different from just "everyone blog on their own site", and also different from "everyone just install and run (YourFavoriteSocialSoftware)" etc. monoculture solutions.

You really own your content, on your own (cool) URLs, and it's up to you to make it last.

But you also syndicate it on other platform (most being centralized and closed) that might have greater reach. Ideally, copies of your content on these platforms should link to your canonical URLs. Even Medium allows it.

IndieWeb listed a few ways to POSSE to popular services and social networks.

This blog is already POSSEed on Twitter and Facebook thanks to the Atom feed, IFTTT and Buffer.

The Content Delivery Network

You can think of these other platforms as edge servers in a Content Delivery Network.

The goal is to "distribute service spatially relative to end-users to provide high availability and high performance". The edge server that will serve an HTML page or static resource to a user is often the closest one. These edge servers get the content to serve from the origin server, operated by the content owner. The end-user might never contact the origin directly, but the most important is that she gets the pages and associated resources.

Medium, Twitter, Facebook and others are edge services for your content, they are the platforms where you will find — unfortunately — more readers that on your own URL.

Your platform is the origin.

Let's make copies of our own content to Medium

You can manually import any post onto Medium, just like I did for my recent post about big emojis not rendered by Chrome. But there are very few formating options, it's really not made for such technical writings with code blocks.

There is also an API that allows you to POST you content to Medium. Jeremy Keith blogged about this, and shared his PHP code.

If like me you use Jekyll, Aaron Gustafson, author of the plugin I use for Webmentions has created another plugin for Crossposting to Medium From Jekyll, taking inspiration for Jeremy Keith's PHP code. I might try it soon.

But setting your own platform is not so easy

I know it is not easy for most people to create and host their own platform, like Nicolas told me on Twitter:

@nhoizey @borisschapira Agree but effort may be too high for (lazy) people and platforms lower reach for external contributions in favour of their own content

Remouk also added (in a since deleted Tweet) that the reach of our own platform is almost nonexistent, and that he has more comments on social shares than on the actual contents themselves.

I experience the same, that's why I'm really happy that Webmentions, webmention.io and Bridgy allow me to get Twitter comments back to my posts.

So, yes, it's obvious not everyone who wants to publish content is able to build and host his own platform. Even tech-savvy people can have difficulties doing so.

Your "own" platform is the nearest you can (get help to) setup

If you can't do it right now, let's say hosting your own platform is your long term target.

You can start by choosing a better platform that Medium to create your content, the origin that will serve all edge platforms you want to have for their greater reach.

Such a platform can be GitHub with GitHub Pages, where your content will more be yours than on Medium. You can also use the hosted Wordpress.com. Or whatever where you will be confident enough you won't lose your content, and ownership of it.

But first, chose your own domain name, and use it for your canonical URLs. If you want later to change the platform, you can change where your domain points to, and your canonical URLs will be safe.

It's free on GitHub, and only costs 4€ a month on Wordpress.com.

It is one of the first items in the IndieMark set of metrics for "measuring the indieweb-ness of a site, and a step-by-step approach to incrementally adopting indieweb features on your site".

It is really worth it.

I'm not alone recommending this:

> If you don’t have a blog, I urge you, start working on one this weekend. Your own blog, with your own content, at your own domain. — @csswizardry csswizardry.com/2017/11/ten-years-old/

January 15th, 2018 update

It looks like more people plan to POSSE everyday, great start for 2018!

Here is Tim Kadlec planning to own his own content:

it does mean writing more frequently here as well. It means treating my own site as the hub for the content I post elsewhere instead of letting it accumulate cobwebs.


  1. Ev Williams, the CEO of Medium, is one of Twitter's co-founders, but was previously headding Blogger. ↩︎

  2. I must say I really don't like the way they deal with images through, with this ugly blur. ↩︎

71 Webmentions

25 likes

15 reposts

  1. nicosomb avatar
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7 replies

  1. remouk avatar remouk
    Je suis en tout point d'accord avec ton article. :) Je me renseigne doucement sur #webmention dont je n'avais jamais entendu parler... Il existe un plugin #WordPress et avec #Bridgy pour récupérer les "réponses" ça devrait pas être trop compliqué à mettre en place.
  2. Nicolas Hoizey avatar Nicolas Hoizey
    Cool ! Heureux de t’avoir fait découvrir cette merveille. 😉
  3. m4dz avatar m4dz
    Celui-là même, merci :)
  4. Vincent Valentin avatar Vincent Valentin
    Mais ce serait super intéressant pourtant ! J’aimerais bcp voir ça !
  5. Maxime GHIGNET avatar Maxime GHIGNET
    Oh I see. Thank you! 😊
  6. Nicolas Hoizey avatar Nicolas Hoizey
    You’re welcome!
  7. Damien List avatar Damien List
    Slack -> Mattermost

22 mentions

  1. Boris 🚀 avatar Boris 🚀
    [Veille] "Medium is only an edge server of your POSSE CDN, your own blog is the origin", Nicolas Hoizey (@nhoizey)… nicolas-hoizey.com/2017/11/medium…
  2. Nicolas Steinmetz avatar Nicolas Steinmetz
    Medium is only an edge server of your POSSE CDN, your own blog is the origin - nicolas-hoizey.com/2017/11/medium… #rss
  3. Nicolas Hoizey avatar Nicolas Hoizey
    @indiewebcamp thanks a lot for leading the way!
    https://t.co/nMC5cpXuM7
  4. Arnaud Ligny avatar Arnaud Ligny
    Medium is only an edge server of your POSSE CDN, your own blog is the origin nicolas-hoizey.com/2017/11/medium…
  5. Adactio Links avatar Adactio Links
    Medium is only an edge server of your POSSE CDN, your own blog is the origin nicolas-hoizey.com/2017/11/medium…
  6. Baldur Bjarnason avatar Baldur Bjarnason
    “Medium is only an edge server of your POSSE CDN, your own blog is the origin”
    nicolas-hoizey.com/2017/11/medium…
  7. Page screenshot https://onepointzero.com/2017/Dec/3/medium-only-edge-server-your-posse...
    Own your content, loan it to others.

    (via Adactio)
  8. CSS-Tricks avatar CSS-Tricks
    POSSE means

    Publish (on your)
    Own
    Site,
    Syndicate
    Elsewhere.

    nicolas-hoizey.com/2017/11/medium…
  9. Lauren Hutchison avatar Lauren Hutchison
    Real_CSS_Tricks: POSSE means

    Publish (on your)
    Own
    Site,
    Syndicate
    Elsewhere.

    nicolas-hoizey.com/2017/11/medium…
  10. Talotics - Digital Marketing avatar Talotics - Digital Marketing
    POSSE - Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere nicolas-hoizey.com/2017/11/medium… #contentMarketing #SEO
  11. Jacky avatar Jacky
    Medium is only an edge server of your POSSE CDN, your own blog is the origin nicolas-hoizey.com/2017/11/medium…
  12. enguerran 🐐💨 avatar enguerran 🐐💨
    Medium is only an edge server of your POSSE CDN, your own blog is the origin
    "POSSE is a creation of IndieWeb" (indieweb.org) nicolas-hoizey.com/2017/11/medium…
  13. Hubert 😎 SABLONNIÈRE avatar Hubert 😎 SABLONNIÈRE
  14. Bob Volte, agent du chaos, chaotic good alignement avatar Bob Volte, agent du chaos, chaotic good alignement
    @cyceron l'article sur le POSSE de @nhoizey devrait vous intéresser nicolas-hoizey.com/2017/11/medium… en gros ce que j'appelle la «souveraineté des contenus» :p
  15. Page screenshot http://bit.ly/2FhmUwh
  16. enguerran 🐐💨 avatar enguerran 🐐💨
    It is time to read (again) the excellent advices provided here nicolas-hoizey.com/2017/11/medium… by @nhoizey
  17. Page screenshot https://akyrho.wordpress.com/2018/09/18/840/
  18. Page screenshot https://cedric.io/2018/09/18/840/
    Medium is only an edge server of your POSSE CDN, your own blog is the origin – https://nicolas-hoizey.com/2017/11/medium-is-only-an-edge-server-of-your-posse-cdn-your-own-blog-is-the-origin.html
  19. Page screenshot http://lamoosh123.inube.com/blog/8023203/suggestions-to-sale-up-the-we...
  20. Nicolas Hoizey avatar Nicolas Hoizey
    Nice trend of people leaving silos for self built/hosted or distributed services, more awareness about @indiewebcamp and #POSSE. 👍

    Medium → self blog
    Disqus → Webmention
    Twitter → Mastodon

    Any other example of silos we shouldn’t rely on too much?

    nicolas-hoizey.com/2017/11/medium…
  21. Page screenshot https://www.jvt.me/tags/ownership/
  22. Page screenshot https://votrecoachweb.com/185-modele-contenus-posse/