I used to avoid writing about Medium, at least very often. The most important reason was that the work would not be curated, and therefore, would garner fewer views.
Now that curation has changed and does exactly zilch for my stats; I have started writing more frequently about writing on Medium. The irony is not lost on me.
I have 1.6k followers on Medium, and my curated work, even in decent sized publications, is now receiving less than 200 views. But, if I write about my writing experience on Medium, I can exceed that without the “benefit” of curation.
I have been writing here for over a year. The thrill of being paid to write whatever I wanted to write about was enough to keep me here through several platform changes.
That said, this last one may be the proverbial straw. Not because it seriously changed my earnings, though it did. The reason I am no longer sure about Medium is that it completely changed my reading experience.
Finding What You Want to Read
Medium’s search function has always left plenty to be desired, but before the latest changes, it was only a minor annoyance. My homepage showed me plenty of interesting content, so I seldom felt the need to tackle the cumbersome task of searching through tags.
When the new algorithm, designed to give us a “more relational” experience, rolled out, everything changed. All my favorite writers disappeared, and now, to read their latest work, I have to go to their page and see what they have published. The problem? I stink at remembering names. So I know I have lost touch with several writers that I once faithfully read almost everything they published.
Publications have changed as well. In their attempts to stay relevant with Medium’s changes, something is missing from so many of the articles they publish. The heart, the fire, the gut-punch writing seems to have given way to dry, informative news-y type articles.
There is nothing wrong with that type of writing, but it isn’t what I had come to expect from the Medium pubs I follow. So, to anyone who once routinely saw my name in the “clapped or responded” to your story notifications, I didn’t leave you — Medium hid you from me.
Adapting to Change
To write on Medium, you have to learn to adapt to change. When I first started writing for the platform, claps were the biggest metric that determines your pay. Then it was member reading time and interaction. Now, I have no clue what determines how much you get paid for an article.
Change is an inevitable part of life, but I don’t subscribe to the concept that all change is good. I didn’t say much when the latest changes rolled out because I presumed we would all find our stride and adapt as we had before. Sadly, the reality is that I have not adapted, and I miss the reading experience on Medium.
What are Medium’s Goals
If I understood Medium’s goals, it would be easier. Vague language and empty reassurances are not cutting it anymore. I know the ultimate goal for the platform must be money. I do not understand how changing my reading experience and slashing stats for most writers helps them achieve their goals.
Given that we, the writers, are the product that Medium is selling, it seems we should understand what we are working toward. I want the power to decide if I am on board to help Medium reach its goals, but that seems like some big secret they are refusing to disclose.
Winners and Losers
Like a casino, where the house never loses, I can only assume the latest changes have been beneficial to the platform. They have not benefitted me as a writer or a reader on Medium, and I don’t think I am alone in that summation.
Many writers have written about their experience on Medium, and I have yet to find one person talking about how the changes have benefitted them. Maybe that is only because they are too busy counting their earnings to worry about writing another “How I Made a Zillion Dollars on Medium” article.
Whatever the game is, it is up to us to decide if we want to continue playing. I will, for now. Even if it is harder to find, Medium has some of the best content on the internet. The interface may be flawed, but it is easy to use, and there is the instant gratification of publishing my work.
That said, I miss my mornings of reading on Medium. It was how I started my day, and I grew as a writer by reading the works of other terrific writers on the platform. I know you are still out there somewhere, but it is more challenging than ever to find you.
If you have benefitted from the changes on Medium, I would love to hear from you. How did it benefit you? Has it made it easier to find relevant articles you want to read? Are your stats up, and what are your thoughts on why?