Blog Ipsa Loquitur

Published on under Disrupt Everything

Matthew Butterick, whose book Typography for Lawyers ought to be mandatory reading in law school, doesn’t like Medium. He sounds a little ambivalent about it typographically. Really, you get a sense of where the bulk of his antipathy lies from the title of his blog post, Billionaire’s Typewriter:

Whereas the tra­di­tional type­writer of­fered free­dom at the cost of de­sign, the bil­lion­aire’s type­writer of­fers con­ve­nience at the cost of freedom.

As a writer and tool­smith, I’ve found the rush to em­brace these sys­tems per­plex­ing. Not be­cause I’m cur­mud­geonly. Not be­cause I fail to un­der­stand that peo­ple, in­clud­ing writ­ers, en­joy things that are free and convenient.

Rather, be­cause gen­tle scrutiny re­veals that these sys­tems are pow­ered by a form of hu­man frack­ing. To get his frack­ing per­mit on your ter­ri­tory, Mr. Williams (the multi­bil­lion­aire) needs to per­suade you (the writer) that a key con­sid­er­a­tion in your work (namely, how & where you of­fer it to read­ers) is a “waste of time.”

Human Fracking as a Service probably won’t catch on, but it’s a pretty apt description of these platforms that offer nothing so much as the chance to power a platform.