Ugly man steps forward.
I bite at Medium because we feed it, rather than having it feed us.
I understand the silliness of kvetching about a free platform, but I consider endless complaining a right. I like to exercise my right to complain a lot. I’ve been complaining my whole life. I understand that others don’t want to hear my complaints. I can empathize because I hate listening to theirs, but that’s not going to stop me from complaining.
The thing is, without us, Medium is a bunch of ones and zeros sitting on a server somewhere in Texas. It is the emotional output of individuals that make the site compelling.
To some, the promise of Medium was that they could publish their work here with the hope of advancing their writing career. “Career” as in “make money from writing.” It was never clear how Medium might help people get paid for writing, but the hope was there.
Lots of people put serious time and effort into publishing their work and developing publications in the hope that something might evolve and put them a baby step closer to that elusive writing career. For most, those hopes have not been realized.
Medium, however, has benefitted from all that effort. It’s a going concern. The power of Medium is the power of the creative underclass. What makes Medium compelling is finding voices and writers that couldn’t even make it into Huffpo or Gawker because their hot takes are not hot enough, or their first person account of some horror has been done “so many times before.”
I would argue that those folks, who may have the self-important grandiosity to proclaim themselves “real” writers, are what makes Medium worthwhile and unique. I definitely appreciate their efforts.
Those folks are beginning to despair. They are starting to think there won’t be any micro-payments, ad revenue sharing for their idiosyncratic publications, or offers from magazines, web sites, and book publishers that pay authors.
They have watched Medium court publications like The Ringer and Pacific Standard while home grown efforts wither and die.
They also see Medium becoming more social and Twitterish. Responses are outpacing “stories”. Is Medium favoring page views and clicks over their hard worked prose?
Dreams die hard. Medium never promised that anyone was going to get to quit their day job and get paid to write what they wanted, how they wanted, and when they wanted, but in this age of Pew Di Pie can you blame them for dreaming?
I love reading and writing on Medium. I hope Medium can make lots of money and keep going for a long, long time.
I could be wrong, but I don’t think anyone but the pros are going to be able to make even egg and butter money from writing here. That’s too bad because I would like some of those self-appointed “real” writers to stick around.