This Makes Me Crazy
Whenever things start popping on Medium, they undercut what is actually happening on the platform by showcasing bigfoot publications. They have a habit of promoting authors who are minimally interested in Medium or who see it simply as a distribution channel.
Checkout my culture tag:
One story by CNN (CNN!), another by Shaun King at the Intercept, and some dreck from Popular Science. Looks like my news reader feed from 1995.
I subscribe to the New York Times. I go to the CNN site daily. As a long time Popular Mechanics reader, I don’t read Popular Science by choice. This shit is bad, really bad. My local paper subscribes to the same syndication feeds. It doesn’t even rival the post-Peter-Thiel-sold-off-for-parts-formerly-Gawker-sublog Gizmodo.
Why Medium insists on buying crap from big Media wire services and forcing it on us is a total mystery to me.
What’s Wrong With This Crap?
The biggest problem with this stuff is that the authors aren’t here. They don’t even know where “here” is. I believe Shaun King cares about his Twitter feed, but I can’t believe he has ever bothered to look at his footprint on Medium. Meanwhile, here on the Medium platform, we have people and publications getting frustrated.
In your case Meg, you are just asking to be able to publish the stories you were able to publish four months ago.
A number of times, publications have grown up on Medium and then been crushed.
I have a question. How come Medium doesn’t have the most read poetry site on the Internet? You know how many subscribers the Kenyon Review has? About 6000. What’s the biggest site for poetry on the web? The Poetry Foundation? I don’t care about poetry, but it seems to me that if there is an artform primed for democratization, disruption, and renewal, it is poetry.
What Medium doesn’t seem to understand is that people really like to WRITE poetry. Sure, they want an audience, they want recognition, but they will toil for a long time in obscurity if there is the chance that they can build an audience. Mike Essig has 11K followers. The interest in poetry on Medium is in SPITE of the platform, not because of it.
Even if we go to a natural fit for Medium, say like UX design, does Medium own the UX design publishing space? I wouldn’t be able to answer that, but if Medium isn’t the first stop for UX articles, you have to wonder what the fuck is going on.
Author Pages, Curation, and Publications
When it comes to handing Medium advice, I concur with John Battelle. If you want an “expert” on today’s publishing world, I don’t see how you can do better than him. He is very much on Medium. I think he deserves much more attention than he gets. Here is what he has to say:
NewCo and I are very invested in Medium — we very much want it to thrive. Here are a few suggestions that might make it…shift.newco.co
Read the article, but also read the extensive comments.
For my part, I am a blogger, so I, along with lots and lots of other people who have already said this, would like to have an “author page” that I could format like a publication. I’d also like to be able to “curate” stories on it with links to other people’s stories ON MEDIUM. Giving members that power on their author pages would make each member a curator.
If author pages were more curated, it would be nice to be able to click through your daisy-chained favorite authors to be able to see what they have posted or picked.
Writers vs Readers
I am a graduate of the Radcliffe Publishing Course. Back when it was in Boston, before it moved to New York, a guy named Morgan Entrekin used to come and tell his “King of the Slush Pile” story. Each year he explained to an audience of editing wannabes that he launched his career by pulling gems out of the mountain of unsolicited manuscripts at Delacorte Press. He ended up being the president of Grove Press, a “disruptor” of old media before there were disruptors.
Medium is now the slush pile. There is audience to be found by mining the slush pile, but instead of digging in, the Medium algorithm buries the goodness with CRAP PURCHASED OUTSIDE OF THE PLATFORM.
The reality is that there is too much content in the world, but that won’t stop people from wanting to create more. Is that wrong? No. I’ve read a lot about Medium, including John Battelle’s article, lots of other screeds, and your whole thread, Meg. It doesn’t stop me from wanting to have my say.
If Medium would just cater a bit more to the writers and let the writers on the platform do some curation, I bet lots of goodness would rise to the top.
Looking for readers is hard. Looking for writers is easy. Medium keeps wondering how they can find 10 million people willing to pay $5 a month to read crap on the internet. That’s very hard.
Finding a way to get 30 million people to pay $5 a month to write crap on the Internet seems easy.
You know what I see when I look at this page?