Syndicating to Medium

When I brainpuked my thoughts on Google’s AMP project, I finished up by saying it was one more option for the Indie Web approach to syndication:

When I publish something on in HTML, it already gets syndicated to different places. This is the Indie Web idea of POSSE: Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere. As well as providing RSS feeds, I’ve also got Twitter bots that syndicate to Twitter. An If This, Then That script pushes posts to Facebook. And if I publish a photo, it goes to Flickr. Now that Medium is finally providing a publishing API, I’ll probably start syndicating articles there as well. The more, the merrier.

Until Medium provided an API, I didn’t see much point in Medium. Let me clarify: I didn’t see much point in it for me. I’ve already got a website where I can publish whatever I like. For someone who doesn’t have their own website, I guess Medium—like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.—provides a place to publish. I think this is what people mean when they use the word “platform” in a digital—rather than a North Sea oil drilling—sense.

Publishing exclusively on somebody else’s site works pretty well right up until the day the platform turns out to be a trap door and disappears from under you.

But I’m really puzzled by people who already have their own website choosing to publish on Medium instead. A shiny content farm is still a content farm.

“It’s the reach!” I’m told. That makes me sad. The whole point of the World Wide Web is that everybody has an equal opportunity to share their thoughts. You don’t need to ask anyone for permission. The gatekeepers of the previous century—record labels, book publishers, film producers—can’t stop you from making whatever you want and putting it out there for the world to see. And thanks to the principle of net neutrality baked into the design of TCP/IP, no one gets preferential treatment.

Notice that I said “people who already have their own website choosing to publish on Medium instead.” That last bit is important. Using Medium to publish copies of what you’ve already published on your own site gives you the best of both worlds: ownership and reach. That’s what Kevin does, for example. And Jeffrey. Until recently that was quite a pain in the ass, requiring a manual copy’n’paste process.

Back when Medium first launched, Dave Winer said:

Let me enter the URL of something I write in my own space, and have it appear here as a first class citizen. Indistinguishable to readers from something written here.

It still isn’t quite that simple, but now that Medium has a publishing API, it’s relatively straightforward to syndicate copies of your posts to Medium at the moment you publish on your own site.

Here’s what I did…

First of all, I signed up for a Medium account. For the longest time, even this simple step was off-limits for me because Medium used to require authentication using Twitter. By itself, that’s not a problem. The problem was that Medium demanded write permissions for my Twitter account. Just say no.

Now it’s possible to sign up for Medium using email so that rudeness is less of an issue (although I’d really like to see Medium stop being so demanding when it comes to Twitter permissions, especially as the interface copy bends over backwards to promise that Medium would never post to Twitter on my behalf …so why ask for permission to do just that?).

Once I had a Medium account, I needed two pieces of secret information in order to use the API.

The first piece is an access token.

I went to my settings on Medium and scrolled all the way to the bottom to the heading “Integration tokens”. I entered a description (“Syndication from”) and pressed the “Get integration token” button.

Now I could use that token to get the second piece of information: my user ID.

I opened up a browser tab and went to this URL: …adding my new secret integration token to the end.

That returns a JSON response. One of the fields in the JSON object has the name “id”. The value of that field is my user ID on Medium.

With those two pieces of information, I could make an authenticated POST request using cURL. Here’s the PHP code I’m using. It’s probably terrible but please feel free to use it, copy it, fork it, or do anything else you want with it.

When I run that code, I get a JSON response back from Medium’s API. Assuming I get a successful response, I can store the URL of the Medium copy and link out to it from here. That copy on Medium has a corresponding link rel="canonical" in the head of the document pointing back here to

That’s pretty much it. I added a checkbox to my posting interface so that sending a copy of a post to Medium is just a toggle away. I’ll tick that checkbox when I post this. You could be reading this on my site or you could be reading the copy on Medium.

The code I wrote is pretty similar to how I post notes to Twitter and photos to Flickr. In fact, posting to Medium is more straightforward: Flickr requires three bits of secret information; Twitter requires four.

What would make this cross-posting with Medium really interesting would be if it could work in both directions. Then I’d be able to use the (very nice) writing interface on Medium to publish on

That’s not so far-fetched. I’ve already got a micropub endpoint here on my site (here’s the code). That’s how I’m able to use Instagram to post photos to my own site (using OwnYourGram). I let Instagram keep a copy of my photo. I’d be happy to let Medium keep a copy of my post.

We could make history:

We need to break out of the model where all these systems are monolithic and standalone. There’s art in each individual system, but there’s a much greater art in the union of all the systems we create.

Have you published a response to this? :


Aaron Davis

Digital Creating and Making at #DigiCon15 Quickmakes

The term blog derives from ‘web log’ and was initially coined to describe “discrete entries (posts) typically displayed in reverse chronological order.” This though has changed over time. Now it incorporates a range of different methods for creating and communicating. Sometimes it is organised inside a bigger system, but more often than not it is standalone. There are many different platforms out there, each having their benefits and negatives. What does not change is the focus presenting mixed media, including video, text, images and audio.

It seems that when it comes to blogging there are as many reasons not to blog. These include not enough time, fear of the public audience and feeling that you have nothing to write. What stands out the most to me though is actually knowing where to start. Sometimes this start is about finding a why, but more often than not it is about where and how.

Unsure which platform to use, how to setup a blog or whether you can maintain regular blogging, a good place to start is Medium. Founded by Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone, the intention was to encourage Twitter uses to create longer posts. In a reflection on why he loves Medium, Marcin Wichary highlights a range of benefits, such as the simplicity of use, looks great on any device and makes it easy to collaborate. While in a separate post Mathias Elmore suggests that when it comes to writing, Medium has some real benefits, including the ability to write, read, annotate and engage all in the one place.

I am not sure if I think doing everything in one place is the ideal solution, nor do I feel that Medium is the best platform. Here I am with Audrey Watters’ call for a domain of one’s own. However, Medium does provide a good starting place.

Some possible uses for blogging are:

  • Being a connected educator
  • Critically engaging with information and ideas
  • Showing your work and learning
  • Leading by example

Here are some additional resources associated with Medium (and blogging in general):

Ten Reasons Why I Love Medium – a post from Marcin Wichary unpacking the different features of Medium

Medium as an educational tool — the feedback era – a post from Mathias Elmose discussing the benefits in regards to writing and feedback

Getting Started in Medium: Writing and Reading – two posts from Ian O’Byrne explaining how to get going with Medium.

Syndicating to Medium – a post from Jeremy Keith outlining how to syndicate your posts to Medium in order to gain the benefits of posting in your own space, as well as the reach offered by a space like Medium.

Why I Blog (And How You Can Too) – A guide from Sue Waters to everything associated with blogging

Seven Reasons Teachers Should Blog – An exploration from Steve Wheeler into some of the reasons as to why to blog

Why I Blog – A reflection from Corrie Barclay on the range of reasons why to blog

An Introduction to Blogging with Global2 – A post I wrote exploring the potential of Global2 and Edublog for education

Successful Blog Posts – A post from Doug Pete looking at the mechanics of a blog post

Anywhere but Medium – Dave Winer makes the plea for readers to post anywhere but Medium, rather than let it become consensus platform. Instead, we need to make a stand for the open web and at least post elsewhere first.

Tips and tricks for Medium writers – The editor at Medium provide an extensive guide for using the editor when publishing in Medium.

If you enjoy what you read here, feel free to sign up for my monthly newsletter to catch up on all things learning, edtech and storytelling.

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Blogging with Medium by Aaron Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Aaron Gustafson

Last week, Jeremy Keith posted about syndicating his content to Medium using their new API. Before they added the API, there was no way to automatically publishing to Medium from your own blog. And doing it manually was quite tedious.

Jeremy posted in detail about how to set it all up and provided the PHP code he’s using to make it all work. As I’m running a static site on Octopress, I ported it to Ruby as a Jekyll Generator. I’ve posted it to Github, so you can grab it there if you so desire.

Giulia Laco

How to publish a post on your blog AND on Medium“We need to break out of the model where all these systems are monolithic and standalone. There’s art in each individual system, but there’s a much greater art in the union of all the systems we create.”by +Jeremy Keith Read it here: here :-) look: they share the same rel canonical!<link rel=”canonical” href=”“>

# Posted by Giulia Laco on Wednesday, August 9th, 2017 at 3:57am

Publish anywhere you can export your data and keep your URLs January 21, 2016 Dave Winer recently wrote that if you have something you want to publish that you should publish it anywhere but Medium. His argument is that Medium could shut down or change course at any moment and your content and your URLs would then be in jeopardy of disappearing. He’s right. That could happen. But that could also happen to the platforms he suggests that you publish on;, Tumblr, Blogger, etc. is owned by a private company and could, theoretically, stop working tomorrow. Tumblr is owned by Yahoo! and we’re all sitting here watching that train wreck in realtime. Blogger is owned by Google and that should give you pause. So, while Winer’s point is valid — that you may not want to publish anywhere that could disappear — I believe the solution behind it is a bit more nuanced than a one-liner like “anywhere but Medium”. The more reasonable rule of thumb would be to publish “anywhere that you can export your data and keep your URLs”. Currently Medium does not match this criteria. You can use your own domain name so you can keep track of your URLs. And they do have an API. But it is one-way and severely limited API — very similar to Facebook’s API of yore. You can push content to Medium but cannot consume content from Medium. (If I’m wrong on this, please email me.), Tumblr, Blogger; these each have a way to get your data out of them. WordPress being the easiest and most friendly since they offer most of the features via an open source download on You could have your site back up and running (and able to be published to) in less than an hour. The others simply give you the content and you’re on your own to create your own publishing software. So should people stop publishing to Medium? I think Jeremy Keith’s approach is best. He says: Using Medium to publish copies of what you’ve already published on your own site gives you the best of both worlds: ownership and reach. There are caveats to this approach. The main one being that editing posts after their pushed to Medium is a manual process. But that is the same on any platform you cross-post to including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. View all posts Comments

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Previously on this day

15 years ago I wrote London calling

London yesterday, London tomorrow… I’ve turned into a commuter.

18 years ago I wrote A Free(lancer) Lunch

Contrary to conventional wisdom, I have discovered that there is, in fact, such a thing as a free lunch. I know because I experienced it myself courtesy of the good folks at Nixon McInnes.

19 years ago I wrote At the closing of the day

It’s the end of another working week spent with the fine folks over at Metal Dragons working on a site relaunch.

19 years ago I wrote Ryan Adams not amused to be called Bryan

Poor Ryan Adams. I guess the joke has worn very, very thin for him:

20 years ago I wrote harrumph!

Heather Champ and Aaron Straup Cope rule!