Culture, Medium, and Language

Photo by Patrick Tomasso, Fika Cafe, Toronto, Canada. Unsplash.

As we interact in the culture of Medium our language evolves, drawing in new people and changing the dynamics of social value.

Example: Look at this top story by Jeff Goins, it starts with the word “Why”. “Why” is a key word in the Medium vocabulary, and it draws members and visitors to its location. In Medium culture it speaks of value. Most members are drawn this word whether due to primal instincts or popular opinion. There are many other words used in the Medium culture that represent social value, but I am going to focus on the word “Why”.

Now I want to differentiate between social and individual value. The word we are focusing on might not have the same value to every individual but it does carry social value through both biological and cultural powers. Biologically we are drawn to the need to know “Why” something is; not knowing is dangerous and risks missing an opportunity or losing something. You have probably heard of this before. But there is also cultural influence: if everybody else is drawn to this word then by association in the same tribe I am also forced to be drawn to it too. I might choose to ignore it, but this only pushes me outside to the edges of the tribe. Ignoring these words and how they are used in our tribe is stating that we don’t agree with the values that are attached to these key words. It is not that we hate the words themselves but instead how they are used in the collective.

Medium is useless without its readers AND writers.

Why is the word “Why” one of key words of Medium language? Lets look at what kind of system Medium is to answer this question. It is not an ordered system (some might say it is rigged), nor is it a chaos system (though it may look like it at some times). Medium has all the traits of a complex system that evolves over time. While there are certain things set in unbreakable concrete, most elements are left to the influence of the moment by members, visitors, and employees of Medium, making the future of Medium quite unknown. Medium is a tribe of complexity that evolves over time. All the actors have different levels of social influence in this culture, but we all have some minimum level of influence. Medium is useless without its readers and writers. And all these actors are here to either read or write. Information is what we are giving or receiving at all times here on the Medium platform. Knowing is what Medium is all about, we are all here to know more or give more knowing. All actors are constantly keeping there eye on the pedestal of social value; who or what is winning? And why is it winning? Answering the “Why” to what is valued on Medium is one of the reasons “Why” is a key part of the Medium language. And maybe this helps explain part of the reason this word evolved to take its place in the top part of our tribal language pyramid. “Why” is a key part of knowing what is valued both on and off Medium. And I used the word “Why” to explain to you the language dynamics of the Medium culture.

“Why” is the reason so many people are looking for articles tagged in areas like psychology, news, and equality. People want to know why their brains work the way they do. Or why is there so much inequality these days and why does it seem there is nothing we can do about it? We want to know more about what is happening in the news; we want to know why these events are happening. And they want a deeper interpretation of these subjects in a easy-to-read platform like Medium.

Over time words in the vocabulary of Medium will change. New ones will come, old ones will have their values changed, and this will cause some people to leave, and some new people to be drawn to Medium. The new evolving language will also cause us to interact differently and create new social behaviors based off of the values in our language.

I will end this with some questions about the Medium tribe:

  • What kind of system does the Medium tribe use to determine language?
  • Does our language speak to or create equality?
  • What does our language say about our wants and needs?
  • Where does the language point us towards?
  • How does the environment of the tribe determine the language?
  • What does the language of Medium say to other tribes?
  • How do we change the language?