I Engage With Posts But I’d Like to Engage With Their Writers Too!
If I could choose one function to add to Medium it would be the ability to contact other writers directly. [Response to Medium Magic Prompt: Write about features on Medium you would like to have.]
I have been writing on Medium for about nine months now and I have enjoyed so much about it. The ability develop a niche while not being required to only write in that niche enabling me to explore different types of writing has been amazing. Having such a wealth of writing available at my fingertips which encompasses so many types of writing that is entertaining as well as instructive has helped me grow so much as a writer.
Becoming involved in different publications has likewise increased my knowledge and skill level. The chance to receive feedback from other has provided a wealth of implications of my writing as well as suggestions to help me determine other directions I want to take my writing in. Opportunities have opened up for me that I know would not have, had I never become a part of Medium.
One Thing That Would Make Medium a Better Place
With all that I’ve already said, there is one thing that I would love to have as part of the platform. While it may seem like a simple thing, I think it would make a big difference not just for me but for other writers as well. That would be a system that allows Medium writers to message each other directly.
As it currently stands, the only way to do this on the platform is to find an article written by the person you want to send a message to, highlight something in the text, then write a private note on the article. The writer is then notified they have a response to one of their articles and if they go to it, they will see your message. They can then reply to the message at which point you will be notified that they have done so and can return to their article to read their response.
The only other way I have found of communicating with Medium writer’s is off of the platform through social media channels. I belong to several Facebook groups and I have sometimes used the Messenger system there to communicate with Medium writers.
Despite having this capability, it would be so much easier if there was a function on Medium to allow us to communicate with each other directly. I realize the site isn’t intended to be a social media platform, but think this function would actually serve to help us grow as writers.
There is so much emphasis on engagement, on Medium. Engagement is actually the main factors that is said to determine our earnings on the site. I do think it’s important to make the effort to understand other writer’s work. But I also think it’s just as important to make the effort to understand the writers themselves. While we can do this to some degree from what we infer when we read what they write, we can accomplish this goal much better by engaging with them directly.
Support for My Request From — Where else? — The Field of Psychology
Social learning theory incorporates concepts that enable us to understand the importance of social contexts for how we learn. This statement is a crucial one for writers. People learn from each other and as social beings it is natural for us to turn to others for inspiration and feedback, advice and understanding. When we make friends with other writers, we form important connections with people who can help make us better at what we do.
The Russian psychologist, Lev Vygotsky, was the first to point out what has become obvious. We learn through our interactions and communications with others. Our social environment strongly influences our learning process. Vygotsky believed that social interaction was a primary determinant of our higher level functions such as thought, attention, logical memory and concept formation. He said that every one of of higher level function appears twice, first on a social level and only later on an individual later when it can be internalized.
This means that as writers, as we develop and grow, our ability to gain skills that really become part of our repertoire as opposed to something more transitory, is largely determined by our social relationships with each other. Vygotsky knew that learning always occurs and cannot be separated from a social environment. The most important learning we do occurs through the interactions we have with each other. Discussion, collaboration and feedback are the building blocks of our trade and they don’t supplement our skills, they go hand in hand with them.
Here is a simple truth: If we want to survive as writers, we need to interact regularly with other writers. Despite the fact that we all come to terms with the reality that writing is frequently a solitary act, there’s no escaping the need we have to interact with each other. We need that type of support to keep ourselves going.
Help us out Medium. Give us an internal messaging system so that we have a way to communicate directly with each other without having to jump through hoops to do it. This is something that we can all benefit from. It will strengthen Medium by enhancing the sense of community and cohesion on the platform even while allowing for the wealth of diversity which has come to be our calling card.
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Take THAT Sunday!
I’ve finally beaten Sundays attempt to douse my creativity at the very end of the earnings week!
You can find links to my other work on Medium and follow me here. Thanks for reading!