The Fallacy of Online Reach

Back in November, I wrote a Medium article about Twitter that was one of the most in-depth, researched pieces of content I’ve published in years.

I’m proud of this one. It’s a topic I had been meaning to discuss for a while, and it felt great to sit down and finally ship it.

Low and behold, only 25 people viewed the article and not even 10 of those users took the time to read it. This article has a grand total of seven reads with a read ratio of 28% (cue the sad trombone):

After pouring quite a bit of time and energy into this piece, it appeared that barely a handful of people found it interesting enough to stay around. Did I screw up the headline? Was a 6-minute read too long?

Well, as it turns out, one of the seven people who read this article was Twitter co-founder and Medium founder Ev Williams:

I couldn’t believe it. Ev, one of most respectable figures in the tech world and someone who helped build Twitter from the ground up, had read my article about Twitter’s future and highlighted this paragraph.

Instantly, I knew I had written something impactful. It was incredibly liberating to see him acknowledge this controversial statement about Twitter without letting any political concerns get in the way of doing so.

Never in a million years did I think Ev would see or read this article (let alone acknowledge it). Not many others did, but that doesn’t matter. His platform, Medium, has allowed us to share opinions and directly reach people who would likely never come across this content anywhere else.

Retweets. Likes. Views. Followers. Reach. Whatever the metric, we live in a world so obsessed with high-level numbers that we often forget about the value of who we want to consume our content.

If you prioritize audience over everything else, the results will eventually show you that you don’t need a million impressions to make an impact.

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