I enjoyed this piece by Melinda Blau. In it, she writes thoughtfully and introspectively about her transition from traditional media to the current writing world. At some point, I’ll probably write a longer piece about the commoditization and aggregation of content, including written content. Over the past two decades, we’ve moved from a world of premium and highly curated content along with limited distribution (magazines, newspapers, etc.) to one where content is seemingly generated by everyone (thanks to the Internet’s ability to distribute virtually for free).
In this aggregator’s world, the ones like Medium who own the eyeballs are king and the army of content creators who desperately want to access those eyeballs are forced to bend to their whims. It’s telling that when I link to Melinda Blau’s article, it’s not her name that appears below the headline but medium.com.
Don’t get me wrong. Medium has made blogging and finding an online audience much easier for everyone including myself. I would not have the platform and audience I have today if not for Medium.
“All this to explain what attracted me to Medium in the first place: immediacy, independence, and readership.” — Melinda Blau
But at the same time, I recognize that Medium’s algorithms and feature set are just as important in determining whether my writing gets viewed and read as the actual content itself. That’s the contract that I and tens of thousands of other writers have willingly (or unknowingly in some cases) signed up for. We want to circumvent the painful process of building a site/audience, learning SEO, buying ads, etc. so we must play by Medium’s rules.