What Medium Is Really Doing
No, they’re not stealing indie writers views. They’re doing what any online publication does.
Just last week the earnings that we typically receive on Wednesday had a bit of a glitch. Many of us rushed to the earning page to see how our hustle has paid for this week and we were greeted with…
Nothing at all.
Now for me, I didn’t panic. Whenever something out of the ordinary happens on Medium I’ve chalked it up to some kind of glitch.
When I couldn’t post anything at all several months ago, it was a glitch in the system.
When I didn’t see my results on Wednesday at the usual time, it was a glitch in the system.
But it’s surprising how these things can be looked at from a different angle. For many, they used this delay in payment as a sign that “Medium is going to crash and burn.”
Yes, a website that is bringing in literally millions of reading time every single month is crumbling before us because of a single technical error. *says sarcastically*
Or maybe you think the system is crashing and burning because you’re not getting what you want from the system and have decided to complain about it. Either way, I really don’t know what’s going on in your head.
But what I do know is that technical issues happen all the time. On top of that, some of the changes Medium is making can be seen in entirely different lights.
You’re free to believe what you wish to believe but while some people see these changes Medium has been making over the past several months spells the end of the indie writers on this platform, I disagree. In fact, Medium is doing what any other large publication of content is doing.
Medium is bringing in readers.
And while that may not seem like a huge shocker — cause that’s what all websites aim to do — it kind of is on this platform.
For as long as Medium has been around I feel the audience that is around here consists of writers who read other writers work. The entire culture that Medium established in its growing stages has literally been writers reading other writers work and publishing content so that other writers can read their content.
Even today that culture remains true as several people reading this article right now probably create their own content.
Hell, I even called it as early as September last year.
I said then that Medium wants us to be innovative, and to start working on attracting readers to the platform and so far Medium has done its part on that through various ways.
It Started With MPP
It first started to really push the partnership program to all writers on the platforms. At the time, paid articles were a rarity and only offered to the really big wigs of Medium. Before this push, I never even saw a locked post before.
In the coming months, people were getting paid a lot of money for the work they created. From all the monthly emails we were getting, we could see some top earners making a few thousand dollars and the average earning hovering around $70–$100 per month.
Sure it’s not much, but it’s certainly enough to cover the $50 per year subscription on Medium. And now there was an actual incentive to use it because the number of locked posts we were seeing was through the roof. Everyone loves money and when given an option people will instinctively take it. They don’t want to experience FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).
Then It Brought In More Established Writers
I wrote that piece I linked above in September and around that time the hate Medium posts were flying out. I personally never read any of those posts but I certainly heard about them and knew they existed as other writers were talking about it.
In short, Medium was and still is bringing in big name writers onto the platform. They’re offering deals with them in the form of featuring their post on the front page, giving them a surge of followers, and no doubt more.
It peeved a lot of people who decided to throw hate on Medium and their decisions. Ironically their hate post was posted on Medium
But they felt that the attack was on the indie writer struggling to make a living. That the bigger and more established writers were out to “steal” the views so that the indie writer will just fade away.
But like I said so long ago, I don’t feel that’s the case. Because indie writers still exist right now. Indie writers are still writing on this platform AND we are still getting views and money. Hell, my earnings on average have only increased from month to month despite all these “terrible changes” Medium is making.
Again I see this as a way of bringing in actual readers and at the time we were seeing the early stages of it.
Recently It Brought In Curation (And Stronger Curation)
I remember back in December that I received a $100 bonus out of the blue. It was surprising to see it and thought it was some kind of Christmas bonus or something.
This was the beginning of what I’ll call Editors choices. From there it would evolve into what it is today which is getting a post curated.
All in all these standards drove and continue to drive us to work harder on the platform. If we dedicate a little more time to our work, do some research, or provide a unique stance, we get rewarded with back then a big bonus, and now with more views and a potentially bigger bonus.
As you are probably seeing now these changes are happening in intervals and from the looks of these changes they are only helping writers more and more. Medium is driving traffic and the better posts that we write the more people will stick around.
This boosts the reading time of the site which allows Medium to attract more writers AND readers to the platform.
After all, you’d be pretty dumb to say “Nah I don’t want to write for a site that’ll push my brand AND get paid to do it.” Right?
On the reader side, better quality posts would only encourage more people to share these articles and talk to people about it. Both the articles and Medium.
And sure some of those shares will come to those big name writers. But the amount of indie writers on here is still massive and they still get great treatment. Some writers are making a living off of writing on this platform for example. From my experiences, I’m getting paid more. Probably still below average, but definitely more than before.
Medium Cares About Indie Writers
While every single change or technical issue can spell doom and gloom for people, I see that as another reason for peoples willpower being shaken. Like I said back in September Medium has been putting us writers not on thin ice but rather a battle of wits amongst ourselves.
Every little change or hiccup Medium makes is a test for whether we think the system is out to get us or to strengthen our resolve and push forward. It forces us to look at ourselves and have a real deep look at what we truly expect Medium to do.
And yes Medium will certainly not always meet our expectations. Medium will do things that rub us the wrong way. But it’s our responsibility to determine how we respond to it.
It’s the main reason why I’ve written out this piece. I’m using this as a reminder for myself but also for others that no matter what Medium does, it likely didn’t mean indie writers ill. After all, it was indie writers who literally grew the platform into what it is today. To undermine every single writer would definitely plunge this platform into chaos.
Instead, these changes are drawing out all the negative people. The complainers who refuse to face this challenge and become better people. Or even the people who just write poor content who refuse to grow and get frustrated or angry they’re not getting what they want.
In the end, Medium is bringing in readers in droves and while I can’t see Mediums analytics, I can imagine that it’s working well so far. More writers are getting paid and the amount is only increasing. From the positive stories about the program, I’ve heard people earning more and getting more followers and views. That only means there are more people coming to the platform. Definitely more writers, but certainly more readers.
And readers are good because it can help you to gauge your writing. After all, people will not read articles if the issue is something they don’t care about, the headline is not that engaging, or the writing is plain boring.
In other words, the onus is on you to make good work on this platform. And if you’re not happy with the results, you need to look at your work and think about what needs changing.
Or you can make a hissy fit about it, write a few “I hate Medium” posts, and “fight the system” all through Medium.
Either way, it comes down to you as a writer. So what are you going to do?