You Will Make Medium Rich — And Probably Already Are

On Social Media and the Attention Economy

I’ve never been a big fan of Medium for many of the reasons mentioned by Mathias Brandal Vagnes when he pointed out he was taking his Minimal Future publication off the platform. As I’ve suggested before, centralized platforms can be evil.

If you’re not paying to use a service you’re not the user, you’re the product.

So how do we overcome the gatekeepers — the FANGs of the world — continually trying to control and monetize the way we receive and share information online?

The answer: We already have… It’s called the World Wide Web. You may've heard of it.

And I encourage you to use it, by creating your own website. Not only will you find the freedom to control how quickly your following grows (see Figure 1), you will no longer be subjected to a series of pluses, hearts, stars and likes; you will have complete freedom of expression, control over your content delivery channels and, perhaps even more powerful, the ability to monetize your content however you see fit.

Figure 1: New User growth of ChicagoGangHistory.com

Medium is just one in a series of attempts to use you as a part of a long-term monetization strategy. And, unfortunately, like all the others before it, it’s going to get ugly sooner or later.

So before you pour your 💔 into what is likely to become the next Blogger, repeat after me: If you’re not paying for a service you’re not the user, you’re the product.