Remember Back When?

A Medium story about Medium



2015 logo

Remember when Medium was a social media blogging platform? This logo represents when I started a Medium account. Old school techniques to build a following where word of mouth, clicking on tags and submitting your work to publications. If you enjoyed reading a piece, you’d tap the little green heart just once. It didn’t require repetitious clicking like “clapping” does.

When you left a comment, the writer actually responded! Back then, it was a platform for sharing experiences, a place to build upon inspired ideas, and foster civil discourse.

I miss that Medium.

“In the last few months, we’ve shifted more of our attention on the product side from creating tool value to creating network value. What does this mean? Obviously, one form of that value is distribution. And there’s no doubt that something published on Medium has a higher likelihood to find an audience than the same thing published on an untrafficked island on the web…That’s why I say Medium is not a publishing tool. It’s a network. A network of ideas that build off each other.”- Ev Williams, May 2015

Ev and the gang launched the $5 monthly membership and Partner Program in 2017. Finally, financial reward for independent writers! But is it really? We’re four years in and we still don’t know how they determine pay based on metered read time.

In 2019, Medium launched their own magazines in which they hired outside writers. Meanwhile, they dangled the carrot of curation for independent writers as an incentive to compete.

Before curation, it was all about being “featured” on Medium’s homepage.

Achieving the curation feat really ripped the spirit and creativity out of the heart of writing. There’s so many rules to follow if you want to make it on Medium. Stuff yourself inside their box of do this and don’t do that, and you might have a chance.

Curation became the primary focus and priority goal of almost every independent writer on the platform. I spent most of 2020 off of Medium for this specific reason. What I once viewed as a cozy home to read and write original stories became just another internet dump site for clutter.

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