Did you know Medium has a stealth readership?


If you’ve been reading my posts here for any length of time, you probably know (or at least suspect) that I’m an old leftover blogger from the days when Blogger was still owned by Pyra Labs, and LiveJournal was a thing. First, a little bit of history which of necessity will be a bit more general than some will like. ;>)

When blogs really took off in 2003 or 2004, people were often following hundreds of blogs. With most popular blogs being updated daily or even more often, you really needed to use a feed aggregator such as Bloglines. Nobody had time to visit all their blogs individually. Today, I still use Feedly, though I’m not following 300 blogs anymore!

Thing is, a lot of people are still using a feed aggregator. They’re not just for personal blogs anymore! If you look at your referrers in Stats, you may find something that looks like this:

See that 8 to the right of the 2 above? If you hover over that in your own stats, you’ll get this:

So if you click on Referrers (again, in your own stats) you’ll get something like this:

Where it says “RSS readers (full text)” that means somebody is following your work, but outside Medium, so chances are you won’t know who they are, or if they are people, or bots. “Full text” means that your readership using a feed aggregator can read all of your post. This isn’t a bad thing. Not only does it keep Medium from being a “walled garden,” closed off from the rest of the internet, but it gives people who really don’t want to participate in the culture at Medium a way to follow your work specifically. The way I look at it, readers are readers, and visibility is good, no matter where you can get it.

I use my RSS feed (which stands for Really Simple Syndication BTW) to follow my own stuff, so I can quickly check for typos and etc. without going to Medium while I’m doing other things. Like checking my personal feeds at Feedly, or looking around at that 800 pound gorilla aggregator with the initials FB.

It’s entirely possible you don’t have any RSS referrers. I didn’t either until March, but that was about the time I started posting a lot more here. I used to do a LOT on Facebook and Twitter, had my own website, and there are a few people who’ve been following my work for years. So that’s probably where they’re coming from.

Only drawback is that there’s no way to know if those on the RSS feed are actually reading your work, which is why they don’t show up in your read ratio. I just tell myself they are, at least mostly, and go about my business.

Anyway, if that RSS readers thing turns up in your stats, that’s what it’s about.

I like to keep myself informed. I think the internet is preparing to explode again, because I’m getting the same kind of feeling I had in 2002 that something different was up. (That was blogs.)

Which was the same feeling I got in 1988 when I got my first computer. I knew computers and “The Information Super Highway” were going to change everything. They did.

Now we’ve got that blockchain thing, which I don’t entirely grasp yet, but …

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