A few days ago, WordPress disabled my blog without any warning. It was gone and replaced with a tactless update about how I may have breached the terms and conditions. I cursed under my breath and wrote about five emails to WordPress Support. I had no idea why it happened. I thought perhaps they had frowned on the fact that some of my posts appear on Medium – a competitor in the free publishing platform industry.
After exporting the backup file to save my content, I went to the terrace to calm myself down and wait for an update. As the bluing skies hijacked my gaze, two things occurred to me. One is that I am jealous of my neighbor’s mango tree given the Rose-Ringed Parakeets it seems to attract. The other is that WordPress – as a free publishing platform – sucks.
I have been sporadically blogging through WordPress for a decade. Over the past few months, it has helped me fine-tune my writing, create an audience and even become more social. But I just can’t recommend it anymore.
There have always been reasons to throw brickbats at the user interface design in the free version. The widgets are only eye candies for the partially-blind. The mobile app crashes with the frenzy of a rabid wolverine in a buffet. The tags and categories work when they feel like it. It is impossible to align captions for photographs because those are preposterous demands.
In 2013, WordPress gave us a holistic reason to feel annoyed by goofing up the new dashboard. This one had a brain on its own; one that scoffed at our simple content template decisions. No matter how I would upload a new post, it always looked different from what I wanted it to be.
I still only use the older version of the dashboard, which despite its own faults, doesn’t greet me in a condescending robot voice. The Beep Beep Boop message just drives me up the wall. It sounds annoying and self-defeatist especially when uttered aloud. Try it out if you aren’t handling heavy machinery or supervising children/pets.
“Usability testing shows you if something is usable. Beta testing shows you if people will actually use it” – Rachel Decker
So after a few hours, my WordPress blog came back to life just as randomly as it had disappeared. By that time I had worked out an exit (or termination) strategy. I had seen a new home in Medium if I ever had to quit on WordPress or vice-versa.
Medium is a blog-publishing platform which has become a popular channel for generating and re-sharing content. I have been posting content that appears on this blog for about a month. There is a regular traffic to content – if accepted by publications. Stand-alone posts tend to do lower numbers unless you have a decent number of followers.
What had me convinced was the user interface. They clearly took the minimalist route. Every post on Medium looks clean, beautiful and palatial. Writing a new post is a seamless and simplistic process. Importing content from other platforms is a breeze too. Social media shares also appear non-intrusively without cluttering the page or messing up user engagement.
I am still figuring out this platform as I go along. For now, I don’t have plans to leave WordPress. I even intend to upgrade the account soon. This will hopefully make this blog a lot more stable. Medium can be a worthy successor but only if I find a way to take all you lovely people with me.
For now… Hi, I am Jack’s secondary blogging platform.
The birds featured in this post are different types of Munias – adorable members of the greater estrildid finch family. I have photographed a few of them in and around Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala.