When Medium isn’t the message

Somehow I missed this new policy sent out to writers on Medium last August, and I am slated to be removed from their Partner Program because I do not have 100 followers.

When I joined Medium and began writing there, I was charmed by the idea of a site supporting writers through micropayments. A bunch of people read my post, I get a few pennies. Obviously it wasn’t something I was doing for money. And I posted about both history and online teaching, as I do, and even contributed to a magazine there about history. Several of my posts, mostly the ones to do with online teaching, got a significant number of views, but I have only a handful of “followers”.

I’m miffed, for several reasons. The first is that I thought micropayments for authors were the point, and obviously they don’t care if you’re not allowed to earn any without 100 followers. The second is that they couched this as being better for authors. And the third is that it conflates the writer with the writing.

Since I posted articles in different topics, it’s unlikely anyone would follow me. Instead, they might want to follow the topics they’re interested in (online teaching or history) which, on Medium, they do. The fact that my work may have brought people to subscribe to these topics is in no way accounted for.

Instead it has to be a personality cult, the following of one author. The fact that this is more important than what the author is writing seems indicative of the celebrity bent of the larger culture, where “influencers” have “followers” and the content is irrelevant. My content is relevant.

Last, I am in the process of publishing a book where my bio notes that I have posted on Medium. I am now sorry to have advertised the platform. Perhaps I shall post this there.

3 thoughts to “When Medium isn’t the message”

  1. Well, rats. Just because they’re too cheap to spring for an algorithm that will track users that click from your account to another — or just don’t care. Is it too late? You’re already on my feed reader — since POT. Happy to pop into Medium, clap a lot, share from there, etc.

    1. Aw, thanks, Vanessa. So nice to see you! I won’t be an influencer any time soon, but your vote is appreciated. 🙂

  2. This is such a transparent money grab for Medium, too. They obviously just want to collect more users’ data to sell.
    The purely transactional nature of contemporary America is so depressing.

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