Midsummer Medium Rant
You are kind, KrisCross, and I’m going to use your comment as a jumping off point for my midsummer Medium rant. This is, more or less, an annual event. I have been complaining about Medium since the day I joined. Now that I pay Medium half a sawbuck a month I am in possession of “extra complainitory rights” and I’m idemnified from schoolmarms that would tell me to “stop complaining about a free service.”
The Exodus of Publications and Writers
I was never a fan of the “pro” publications. It would be more than a little hypocritical of me to cry crocodile tears over the loss of The Ringer when I have used The Ringer as a punching bag for its entire tenure on Medium. Now that the Billfold, Pacific Standard, and Backchannel have seen their way out, with more organic publications like The Hairpin in their wake, I feel a certain dred. Read this post by julian rogers:
We’re still here. Are we idiots?medium.com
Should the catfish at the bottom of the pond be worried that the pond is being drained?
There go the trout and big bass. The last muskie went over the dam a month ago. Are we safe in the muck? Will the water level get so low that there is no oxygen left for us?
Some quick fish have left. The list of strong swimmers that have abandoned this hole is too long to write. What is going on?
Why This Is a Response to Your Comment, KrisCross
KrisCross, your kind comment is the launching off point for this rant because it is emblematic of what is good about Medium. As I have written before, I get to goof around on Medium and people read, recommend, and say nice things about what I write. I can’t get there anywhere else. I’m happy to pay five bucks a month for it. Don’t tell Medium, but I would pay a lot more. How much? As I often say, I pay $30 a month for Adobe Creative Cloud, and I fucking hate Adobe.
But the audience I buy is only half of it. Your acceptance speech at the Mediuman Awards was GRADE-A lulz. It was really funny. It brought me much more joy than the “pro comedy” that can be found on TV or in movies.
The Belief in Blogging
I believe that we are capable of incredible funny AS A GROUP. I also believe we are capable of great insight, understanding, art, and compassion, etc. I’m here for the funny, so I’ll have to leave the rest of it to folks like alto and Tre L. Loadholt. I am happy they are here and enjoy their efforts to nurture community.
I believe that the collective wisdom of our species can be found on the Internets. Unfortunately, it is buried in noise.
I could, but won’t, wade through the cesspool of places like Reddit to find the funny. It’s just too much work, yet in that mix is where you find genius. Check out this article about a comment on Slate by Nicholas Grossman:
It all started on Slate.bullshit.ist
Nicholas Grossman writes things I like very much. I don’t want to disparage what he writes for “real”, but his comedy genius came out of his exchange with other people.
So, how do we create a place of geniune artistic interaction? The promise of social media is that we can create a community and then interact with it. In the soup of unfiltered, non-commercial expression interesting and ground breaking things can happen. The collective is the place to be.
The Digital Promised Land
We have yet to find the blogging land of milk and honey. I have not yet given up on Medium. As we were saying, Medium does a good job of allowing semi-annonymity without making a playpen for Trolls. They have combatted Spam VERY effectively. This is a pretty clean environment.
Yet, somehow, we can’t keep the band together. The people I want to follow seem to get lost. I have difficulty finding the kind of folks I want to read. It’s hard to stand in the water and watch the river flow because the sandbars are constantly shifting.
Like many, I’m afraid it will auger. I don’t have any advice for them. I have no idea how to pay for a platform like this. I fundamentally don’t care. There are half a dozen message boards I could go fuck around on if this place stopped working.
But someday, some way, somebody is going to make a blogging platform for bloggers. Then the search will be over. If I find it I will let you know.