Medium is My Home — For Better or Worse
Things have been changing. But what do you expect from a company that is trying to be profitable? Blame capitalism, don’t blame Ev.
Many writers seem pissed off on Medium, and if I were the same person I was when I joined in October of 2018, I would be too.
Ev Williams, in a way, turned his back on the indie writers who made the Medium platform famous in favor of professional journalists and writers who attempted to make the venue seem more relevant and polished.
The audience liked it the way it was.
I saw the changes years ago when established writers with no green halo around their profile bubble were getting all the promotion and top spots on the home page, along with the slew of new Medium in-house publications. They screwed around with the algorithm and the earnings for our efforts, and for many of us, cut our payout in half overnight.
I was angry back when I finally had a $3k month after going viral, only to have everything change again and go in the toilet. After being on the platform for almost three years and seeing some success, I am down to making less than $120 a month now.
The short story turns out to be that Ev Williams isn’t happy with the editorial team. Whether the issue was they weren’t bringing in revenue or that they tried to unionize but failed, the end result is going to be that things are going to change again.
I’m not angry with this whole situation because I knew things would change eventually.
Sure, I haven’t been publishing as much the past few months, partly because I gave News Break a shot and partly because I was attempting to focus on things that would help me pay the bills in the future.
I also wanted to get back to the original reason for me starting to write and enjoy myself again.
This month I started publishing more, but I am no longer thinking of Medium as an income source. I am only writing about topics that give me pleasure and joy and hold some educational interest for me, like this one. I’ve been writing essays and a bit of short form.
If you look at my stats, this month has been my worst since I began, but I am not mad because I have started to enjoy writing again.
Writing is one of the only things that canbring a smile to my face anymore, so I decided to take the onus off of it and stop expecting it to pay my bills.
My attitude is that I write for the delight of it; if it makes money, so be it. But I am not going to pressure myself to produce for the sake of earning anymore.
The news that Ev and Medium wanted to make changes was interesting and exciting, but it wasn’t a surprise because things have been off-kilter here for a while now.
I like to go to the home page and see what the algorithm puts in my feed based on my interests and past reading habits. But lately, week after week, I see the same ten stories repeated over and over again.
Sometimes the stories change, but there always seems to be a group listed repeatedly.
Evidentially, there are issues with the algorithm.
But I didn’t get mad because I knew it would change.
I have to make an effort to seek out my favorite writers and read their latest because the feed is not doing its job, except for always giving me Apple-related stories to read, which is a nice bonus.
A lot is going on with the stats too, and not just the steep decline they have been on since Medium announced the new monetization policies.
But I’m not mad because I know it will change for the better.
If you want to be a successful writer on Medium or any platform you care about, you have to have patience and don’t storm off with your entitled ass each time we turn a corner.
I’ve stuck with Medium because I believe in it, and I can’t say that for other projects like News Break, LinkedIn, and Vocal.
I know that the audience on Medium is here to publish their work and read other indie writers’ work. The majority of the people who read my writing are other Medium members who write themselves, and I know Mr. Williams forgot that in his search for the Almighty Dollar.
This platform still exists because of the indie writers, not despite them, and Ev’s attempt to put lipstick on the frog only made him and Medium look fickle.
What Medium Should Do
Let’s take the people from the editorial staff who are still left and put them in charge of distribution and promoting the best work from indie writers on the platform again. Yes, there is still going to be bad writing out there, but everyone has to start somewhere, and that is the sheer beauty of Medium.
Let’s start seeing more of the people who are driving this platform on the homepage. The move to include the writers we follow at the top was good, but let’s move farther. Let’s start promoting the people who everyone has come to see.
Let’s continue to tweak the monetization policies until we get back to a point where it’s realistic to think that some writers can earn a living wage again. There will always be the outliers at the top and bottom, but at least show us that our decision to publish and promote Medium at every chance we get isn’t a terrible one.
I know Ev Williams and Medium are trying their best to become a profitable company, but they have to let us help. Their success is our success, and I guarantee if they bank on the indie writers in this new creator economy, they will win.
Put the focus back on us and give us some incentive to start promoting Medium to our friends and family again.
Let us help you!
And, Ev, most of us ain’t mad; we know you are doing your best. You have some seriously rabid writers paying $5 a month to read and interact with each other.
We are your true fans, and we aren’t mad.