On Emerson and returning to Medium

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Copic Multiliner SP 0.3 on Strathmore Bristol artist tile, photographed via iPhone, digitally filtered and framed via Camera+.

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds….”

You may think that I’m quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson, but I’m not. Not directly, anyway.

Rather, I’m quoting Dr. Harvey Hecht quoting Emerson. As much as I fan-girled Emerson (and especially “Self-Reliance”) when I studied American literature at Southeast Missouri State University, I liked Dr. Hecht more, and I think it was his influence which caused me to file that half-quote away in an easily accessible synapse, ready to fire up and engage any time a change of stance, action, or perception felt like it needed a quick justification.

This is such a time.

I published my first (and only previous) “story” on Medium in November of 2015. I pulled that post in March of this year (2017), when the service began offering subscriptions, but had yet to open up partnership opportunities to the Medium community at large. I felt that that particular change in Medium’s business model, while excluding content creators, was ethically questionable; and I reacted in what I believed— and still believe — was an appropriate way, by removing my tiny bit of content from the site.

The Medium Partner Program became open to everyone thirteen days ago. Medium changed the action which had spurred me to delete my content, and that meant that my reaction needed to change, too.

After spending several days pondering how I wanted to respond, I decided that I won’t be bringing that previous post back to Medium. It’s fine where it’s at. But I would like to write on this platform again.

I think that (presuming sustainability, and that the openness of the program is maintained, as well) the concept of the “open paywall” — the choice for content creators to release their content either behind the paywall or not, the lack of ads, and writers (regardless of résumé) being paid relative to engagement — is a wonderful thing. I think that this model stands to benefit writers who lack the resources to build, maintain, and promote their own websites. I think that it stands to benefit readers seeking refuge from what passes for discourse on much of social media, from being tracked and served ads everywhere, and from the echo chamber that crowd-sourced and -enforced media sometimes becomes.

I’m so fond of the concept that I’m considering posting here regularly, and maybe even setting up a custom (sub)domain.

More importantly, I’m supporting the concept by purchasing a membership. It may only be a monthly membership, for now, because Medium seems as unconcerned by hobgoblins as I currently am and as Ralph Waldo was. My support level will change as time marches forward and sustainability bears out or it doesn’t.

I’d like to think that there are enough willing supporters out here to make the open paywall viable over the long-term.

Either way, it’s a good move, Medium. Thanks for opening up the opportunity to everyone who wants to participate.

And thanks to you, too, Dr. Hecht, for helping me hobble that particular goblin.

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