Help! I Don’t Know How to Make the Most of Medium!

This is me. On Medium.

So I’m the new kid in town here, after a decade of posting my thoughts on various blogs and various platforms (Xanga…Blogger…WordPress).

How could I not try Medium?

Like so many others, I was seduced by the site’s pretty design and promise of a community of readers who like to write and writers who like to read.

Like so many others, I am anxious to share my thoughts and experiences with the world and ravenous in my consumption of quality online writing.

So I decided to create an account at almost the exact same time that Medium decided to make small-but-substantial changes.

Many of the nice things remain, but now that I am using the site in earnest, I have a lot of questions about how to enhance my experience here. I haven’t easily found answers to these questions on the site itself or on the various official Medium blogs, so I guess I’m testing the power of the much-touted Medium community by posing them in a post.

Can you help me?

  1. Is there any way to replicate the notes feature that allowed you to leave in-context footnotes on posts? I thought that was a really groundbreaking feature of Medium that seems to have disappeared with the update and the privatization of notes. I loved being able to highlight a word in my post and provide a sarcastic aside for anyone who took the time to click on it. Why should my readers have all the fun?
  2. Where can I find a list of publications? Stories from various publications pop up on my homepage thanks to recommendations and highlights, but is there anywhere for me to see a directory of publications that exist or at least a list of the top 50? Or even the top 10?
  3. Same deal with tags. Aside from the “featured tags,” is there somewhere to see a more complete list of tags? Or do I just have to search for tags of interest and see what comes back?
  4. I love the idea of publications and the fact that you can make your own to group your posts however you see fit. Brilliant. I also love the idea of pitching to publications edited by others. I want to contribute! Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a standard way of doing this or even a uniform etiquette to follow. If I publish it on my own profile, does that mean it can’t be added to someone else’s publication? Will no one want it because it’s technically already been published? I see that Human Parts wants me to submit a Word document and fill out a Wufoo form. Other publications to which I would love to submit content don’t even seem to have submission guidelines on their page (cough**The Coffeelicious**cough**Personal Growth**cough). How can I join these choruses? There isn’t even a good way for me to contact the publication editors, unless I leave a private note on one of their blog posts, which seems kind of pushy.
  5. I have read lots of incredible writing on Medium and have followed a lot of writers whom I look forward to reading more from in the future. But no one seems to follow me back! The followers I currently have were imported from my Twitter followers, and most of them seem to be inactive on this site. I wrote my first real post on Medium yesterday and posted it to Facebook like I always have with my WordPress posts. I don’t know what I was expecting, but there has been exactly zero traffic from within the Medium network. The only views I have came from my sharing on Facebook and Twitter. What can I do to get my content in people’s feeds? I thought publications would be a step in the right direction, but that brings me back to #4.
  6. I also have aspirations to start my own publication contributed to by me and other Medium writers, but I’m not sure how I would ever get someone to know that it exists, let alone ask to contribute to it. For example, I am a cancer survivor, and would love to start a publication for people to share stories and experiences related to that. But if a cancer survivor publication falls in the woods and there are no survivors to hear it, did it make a sound? How can I help it make a sound?

Medium feels like a very insulated community so far, and even though I am here and enjoying the content and writing experience, I still feel a little bit like an outsider. I’m here at the banquet table — I just want someone to try my garlic mashed potatoes.

If you’re reading this, thank you! Give me a follow and/or leave me some suggestions for other people, publications and tags to follow. I’m still finding my way here and appreciate any insights. If you edit a Medium publication and might want me to contribute, check out more of my writing at my other blog and hit me up at rounding30@gmail.com. Thanks!

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