Medium is not just a wonderful publishing platform, it is also a very social community. Even with the inability to directly contact other writers through a chat function or internal messaging system, there are constant reports of members who have formed collaborative relationships and friendships through the platform and it’s associated groups and forums.
At the same time, I have noticed certain things that I find annoying about some members behavior and have also heard others complain about some of these behaviors as well. I have listed 10 behaviors that you’ll want to avoid in order to connect and relate with other writers on Medium.
1. Don’t gossip about your peers or try to build yourself up by putting others down.
Those of you who read my articles have likely read the stories I wrote about a situation that occurred here where someone misinterpreted something I wrote, and went running to another person she knew who was heading a business venture I’d been asked to join. Although the woman herself wasn’t the leader of the group and the issue raised (inaccurately), had nothing at all to do with the group, she was good friends with the organizer. She convinced the leader to toss me out of the group which had other negative repercussions for my business and work relationships as well.
Being a professional means you don’t gossip or complain about another writer. You definitely don’t try to influence others to perceive a problem with someone by talking behind their back. Damaging someone’s reputation is not okay. In a similar vein, if a writer comes to you and wants you to act on their own personal, negative perception, tell them they should try to talk things through with the person in question. Remember the old adage that says,
“If you don’t have anything nice to say about someone then don’t say anything at all.” It may seem like a cliche but that doesn’t take away from its wisdom and the saying is one of those things that will always apply.
2. Don’t rewrite other people’s articles and claim them as your own. Definitely don’t copy other people’s articles and claim them as your own.
I have seen so many articles on Medium and other place where someone sees an article that has gotten a lot of views and engagement and they rewrite it in their own words. While you might not consider this plagiarism it is. Not only can’t you take someone’s exact words and claim them, you can’t take someone else’s ideas and claim them. Even if you have largely rewritten it, if it’s clear that it started life as someone else’s work, while it may or may not fail to register technically as plagiarism, it’s not nice, lazy, and won’t win you friends.
Related to this, is how you behave in Medium groups and forums. Sometimes, a writer will ask for feedback on an idea they are developing. If you see this, do not take their ideas and quickly write them up before the OP can do so. It may give you a good idea when you didn’t have any ideas of your own. It may give you another article based on a good idea you wouldn’t have come up with on your own. What it won’t get you is the respect of your peers.
3. Don’t spam people by commenting with something that doesn’t have anything to do with the article and add your own link.
This seems to be happening more and more regularly. This is when someone is clearly not reading the articles they are commenting on and making general comments such as, “Wonderful article.” or “I find your work to be upbeat and positive” or the like. The first problem is that they use the same comment on every article they spam and it often doesn’t apply to the story, for example it isn’t an upbeat or positive tale.
The main problem though, is that these individuals then add a link to their own stories saying, saying something like, “Here is a link to one of my own stories I’m sure you would like.” More often than not, the link will have nothing to do with the article they post it on. When this happens, the writer may search to see if you’ve done it on other articles and finding that you have, report you. So with this one, you may not have the opportunity to gain friends because you might get banned.
4. Don’t start groups on Facebook or elsewhere saying it is to create community when it’s more about getting you what you want such as collecting other people’s strategies for succeeding.
There are numerous groups now, on Facebook and other social media platforms,as well as forums and websites, that are for supporting each other as writers on Medium, or they may have a more general purpose such as supporting bloggers. These usually also provide an opportunity to publicize your stories daily, or weekly.
These started off as endeavors to create community for Medium writers since there are no actual Medium forums. Unfortunately, as with everything, some writers discovered ways they can be leveraged to give them a leg up while disguising it as part of community goal.
Don’t use groups to gather data on other writers in order to determine what strategies they use to gain traffic and engagement so you can take advantage of them. Succeeding on Medium is not something that happens overnight. Most people take six months to a year learning and experimenting before they find their own formula that leads to success.
Even then, not that many writers on Medium make a lot of money. But even if you could discover the secret strategies of those who do, you could not likely implement them in the same way. Learn to write well, write and publish as often as possible, learn how to use analytics and how to self promote in a way that is ethical. Then work your butt off and you might then receive a decent income.
5. Don’t contact top writers and ask them what they think about your articles.
Don’t think that top writers are just waiting for you to get in touch with them so you can share your writing. Some new writers do this because they think that the top writers will tell them exactly what to do to make their articles go viral also. They won’t. Other writers think that if the top writers see what they write, they will promote them, shooting them to stardom. They won’t. Do it once and you might get ignored, do it twice and you might get reported. Do it with more than one top writer, and you might get banned.
6. Do not ask other writers to edit something for you.
This is one that most of us who are active, see in social media groups. Those who belong to these groups are usually very busy writing and editing their own work, marketing their articles, analyzing their performance, reading and commenting on other people’s articles, and possibly running or serving as an editor for a single or multiple publications. They don’t have time to edit your work. Furthermore, editing is a job people get paid for. If you want someone to edit your work, ask only if you are willing to provide adequate compensation for their time. Otherwise, find a friend or family member who doesn’t mind doing it. The best solution of course, is to learn to edit your own articles.
7. Don’t use Medium as your own personal pickup platform. Related to this, if you have a publication or have started a Facebook group, do not use your position to hit on other writers.
This is one that will likely get you banned in short order. Medium is not a dating site. Striking up friendships with people you are attracted to, then hitting on them isn’t okay, nor is it in line with the rules of the platform.
This also applies to running a Facebook group or publication. In these cases, it goes beyond just hitting on a fellow writer. It falls more under using your position to get someone interested in you. And be advised. This sort of situation will often fall under harassment, it will get around and it will definitely be reported. If you are considering doing this kind of thing, you might want to read up on the #metoo movement.
8. Do not use Medium as a weapon.
If you get upset with other writers, do not write offensive posts that only thinly disguises who they are about. Do not attack an entire group of people such as a particular gender or race, generalizing your hurt feelings from a few people to an entire segment of the population. This will not win you allies or get others to see your point of view.
The most likely thing that will result is that people will see you as someone who isn’t mature enough to handle disagreements in an adult manner. Some will also likely post responses to your behavior and words in groups where you made your statements, on the articles where you wrote your opinion, and their own websites and blogs.
Remember that what you post online is public and even if you lock your posts there are always ways for people to get around that to see what you wrote. Even if you think better of it later and try to smooth things over, once you have established yourself as someone who does this, efforts to repair damaged relationships or your reputation are not likely to have much of an effect.
9. Don’t demand over and over to know why you aren’t getting claps or high earnings.
This is something a lot of new writers do in Facebook groups and forums. It takes a while to gain a following who will read and engage with your work regularly. To keep your readers you will have to write about things that they are interested in and answer questions about common issues that many people have. You will need to write about topics that aren’t already over saturated. You will need to learn about social media, SEO and marketing and use these methods to gain new readers and make your articles searchable. The main thing is that you will need to know is how to write well.
You still may not get as many claps as other writers whose work you are reading. Your stats may not be going up as rapidly as you think they should. Your earnings may be low for a long time despite seeing others who are reporting earning far higher than yours.
There’s no perfect formula for any of these things and focusing too much on them will only make you unhappy and discouraged and unlikely to continue writing on Medium or possibly at all. Don’t compare yourself to other writers, stop looking at your stats and just keep improving your writing. Sometimes an article you think is brilliant and took days to writer will get few claps and other times something you just dashed off will receive a ton.
Just keep writing and take the successes with joy, learn what you can from the articles that don’t do as well as you’d hoped and move on. You’ll improve with time the more you write, and this will lead to more claps and earnings though I doubt you’ll ever find an exact formula to predict which articles will do really well. If you do, please share it with the rest of us!
10. Take the time to learn how Medium works from the help documents before asking questions about the sites in the groups.
This is the most important thing you can do. Spend time reading all of the help information that Medium publishes for writers. If you still have a specific question, search Medium for the answer. There are numerous help articles written on the platform that can give you a lot of info. Do not go into the Facebook groups without having done this and ask questions. There is a good chance they have already been answered and no one likes seeing the same question every week or from every new writer.
Medium is a wonderful platform to publish your writing, and explore the writing of others. You can learn a lot about writing and improve your skills as well as experiment with new types of writing and genres.
Medium is also a very social, and supportive atmosphere, something writers need, as many tend to write alone which limits their ability to interact with others in their field. There are also social media groups that are specifically geared towards Medium writers, that you can join for more opportunities to interact with others who publish on the platform.
Making sure you are aware of what behavior will make it less likely for this to happen or in the worst case scenario get you banned from these groups or Medium itself, will help minimize the chance that you will hurt your opportunity to form professional relationships on the platform.
Natalie Frank (Taye Carrol) has had work featured in Haunted Waters Press, Weirdbook Magazine, Siren’s Call Publications, Lycan Valley Press and Zero Fiction among others. Her poetry has been featured in several anthologies. She is Editor for 1-One-Infinity and One Table, One World and Editor in Chief for Promposity and Mental Gecko. She is also the Managing Editor for Novellas and Serials at LVP Publications.
If you enjoyed reading this article, you might also like these:
Please Don’t Label Me
When we negatively label someone and then spread that label through gossip, even when we believe we have a reason for…
I Didn’t Mean to . . . Intentions Don’t Excuse Your Actions
When you hurt someone, they rarely care what your intentions were.
You can find links to my other work on Medium and follow me here. Thanks for reading!