I’m finding it harder and harder to write on Medium.
First of all, apparently I currently write only for a few members of Medium.com, which I could name by heart if I wanted to, and that’s actually a problem because I shouldn’t know their names, because I have over 2000 followers.
Yet, the more followers I have the less feedback I get, the less answers, the less my articles get noticed and published. I guess this is a normal effect of the network growing and of me being buried alongside thousands and thousands of people a zillion times better than me.
However, there is more to this than me whining.
I think it’s a problem with the fact that Medium wants a long form content network to work like Twitter.
And it doesn’t, because when you scroll through so many long form pieces you have no idea what’s inside. If you read 144 characters, I bet that with a decent IQ you get an instant clue what that’s all about.
We’re all lost in a random roulette of articles all appearing at the top of handpicked content. How can you compete with that? Do I want to compete in a competition of randomness? I don’t know.
I’m not whining because there are all these big bad wolves who churn out content like there is no tomorrow. I’m not whining that I’m not famous and that people just don’t blindly recommend anything that I blurt out.
I am whining about the fact that the platform doesn’t give me the tools to be an amateur writer.
For example, some writers, the “special” ones, have a “special” style of grouping articles, in a kind of series. Even though I am a member, I do not have access to that feature. And that simply annoys me.
Why do only publications get letters? If I have 2000 people who clicked that follow button, then doesn’t that actually mean anything? Of course it does, but it doesn’t appear to mean anything for the people at Medium.
The circle of people who interact with me is getting so small that I actually think of them as my friends. And I like that, but if I want to tell them something I must reach out to them personally outside of the platform and that makes me look like a stalker.
I mean, does anybody at Medium believe that it’s OK for me as a writer to just visit someone’s Facebook profile and contact them there?
Of course it’s not OK.
I think the platform should offer more guidelines.
For example, publications either have no way, or they do not use the feature, if it exists, to notify people what exactly makes their articles not being published.
Everybody takes a last defence position by telling writers to forget about being published if they don’t hear back in 48 hours. That is just rude.
Not even the initial benefit of having recommends bubble up in your network doesn’t seem to apply anymore.
I have had articles being recommended by people with thousands of followers and there was absolutely no kind of effect.
All the changes that Medium did in feed presentation and in how the articles get streamed to readers, they all affect the little guys, the people who don’t even have the time to edit their articles and they don’t want much more than conversation.
It looks more and more as if this platform was simply set up as a honeypot for big name journalists and big name publications. But it backfired.
Now that the advertising business has rejected this kind of industry take over, which they wanted to make Netflix style, they are currently prepared to just slice and dice the community, to create another version of a content farm, by promoting people, who are otherwise great and talented, and I have no doubts that they see it as an opportunity, in such a way that they are creating another Long Tail Community.
But the Internet is chock-full of long tail communities. Who in god’s name needs another one?
A long tail community is nothing but yet another reflection of poor resource management: few winners grab just about everything worth grabbing.
It feels as if I am paying this small amount of five dollars to support the people who are simply luckier than I am, and it feels a bit weird to do that. Altruism, like so many other things, requires consent.
Who am I? Just a user. A paying user. Not a writer, not a member, not a founding member, not a talented person wishing to express himself. I’m just one random byte in a table row. And if I identify with this persona then it’s definitely not the place to publish anything.
Why am I complaining? Because this used to be someplace where you could express yourself with the high hope that people would hear you, and it became another echoless void.