It Isn’t Paint-By-Numbers: You Can Be Curated Without Following A Bunch Of Rules

My observation of curated stories tells me a lot of curation advice online doesn’t matter to curators or the algorithm

Chris Hedges
Jul 29, 2020 · 4 min read

I have read a lot of stories about earning curation on Medium.

Many suggest failure to use certain headline styles will preclude curation. Others suggest any number of other reasons why your story will be automatically passed over and rejected.

I have been keeping an eye on curated stories and I say all the rules you read on Medium about curation are just opinions and make no difference in being curated.

Case study 1 — Headline style / Title Case

Ira Memaj writes on her own page about #MedBikini and a medical publication study that exposed sexism when the authors suggested women in medicine more likely to be unprofessional if they post on social media than men because they discuss politics, gun violence, or show pictures of themselves having fun.

Memaj’s article is curated in #Equality.

It is a 3 minute read.

The headline is written like a regular sentence and ends in a period and begins with a hashtag.

Monica Galvan writes how to create the perfect photograph. Her title is written in a sentence style. She was curated in #photography.

Observation: Capital case in your title doesn’t matter. Your headline can be styled like a sentence and it won’t preclude curation.

Case Study 2 — Feature Photo vs Plain Text

Another example of a curated story in #Books that doesn’t have capital case styling in its headline by Bryan Cebulski.

It is an 18 minute read. No feature photo dominating the beginning of the article. The first picture isn’t until below “the fold” of the screen below paragraph 9.

Observation: Your headline style and graphics don’t matter as much as the content. You can have a full computer screen page of text without worry.

Case Study 3 — Word Count / Read Time

The number of words doesn’t matter as Susan Sagrin shows us with her short story curated in #fiction:

Observation: You can get curated using two sentences equaling 50 words without any special formatting.

Case Study 4 — Claps After Curation

Here’s an article curated in #lgbtqia by TransLifeLine that has one clap as of the time I wrote this story. It was published June 30. See screenshot below.

Image for post
Image for post
Screenshot by Chris Hedges

Observation: Curation doesn’t guarantee lots of claps (and I assume traffic).

In conclusion — Quality matters more than any specific style

My observations of curated stories the “break the rules” that I have read about getting curated lead me to believe that there is an algorithm at play that initially screens authors. If you fail to start off strong, I hypothesize the algorithm filters your work out until it meets a certain quality score.

I also hypothesize based on reading others’ accounts of being curated that getting into certain publications can help get the attention of human curators. I know people who have been curated from ILLUMINATION and The Bad Influence. You don’t have to be published in an ultra-elite publication.

Rules don’t matter so much as the quality of your work.

Of course, the quality determination is subjective. I assume the curators look to see what will appeal to people who might not have an established set of people they follow and thus give people selections based upon the topics they click when they first sign up for Medium. There is probably a formula that the curators look for, but it isn’t completely limited to running articles through a grammar checker and headline analyzer. The “secret” is in obtaining whatever qualities the curators are looking for.

That is what I’m hoping you can help us all discover.

Let me know your observations so we can expand our knowledge since curation is a mysterious subject with a lot of speculation surrounding it

Since I’m using the scientific method, let me know if you have observed anything different so that we can add to our observations to see if we can come up with a theory of curation that we can all strive for, should we wish to be curated.

If you know what the curators are looking for and how to get their attention, please share with all of us!

We curate outstanding articles from diverse domains and…

Chris Hedges

Written by

I 💗 you! ♦Writer, photographer, web designer♦ 🏳️‍🌈 ⚧️


We curate and disseminate outstanding articles from diverse domains and disciplines to create fusion and synergy.

Chris Hedges

Written by

I 💗 you! ♦Writer, photographer, web designer♦ 🏳️‍🌈 ⚧️


We curate and disseminate outstanding articles from diverse domains and disciplines to create fusion and synergy.

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