Oh god, it’s another Medium post about Medium.
But after reading Why I Don’t Write for Medium, I had some thoughts. And everyone knows that once you have a thought, you are obligated to spraypaint it all over the internet. So here goes:
I write on/for/with/to/about/in Medium because it works for me.
Medium was designed to be a place where writing can actually be seen and enjoyed. It’s a clean and welcoming platform that gets its momentum by shoving off from the cluttered chaos of other platforms. People actually read the words that are written here, and those words don’t compete with animated Harry Potter gifs, pictures of latte art, and other animated Harry Potter gifs.
The people who come here come to read, and the people who write here come to write. It’s like a dating service, except good.
This is my fifth post here, and I can already say no other environment has been a better fit for my writing. I took a rant about a burrito from a personal blog that gets a fair amount of traffic, and I reworked it for Medium. The exposure it got here was amazing. Same with the other posts. One was a conversation with my daughter. One was about creativity. One was about children swearing. So they have been all over the place subject-wise. And each of them has been met with amazing feedback, support, and let’s stop dancing around this elephant… attention.
Medium has gotten me a lot of attention. Which is exactly what I want, because I make things. And it’s exactly what anybody who ever puts a piece of themselves anywhere wants.
In the post to which this is a response, the author writes:
That traffic doesn’t do anything for me, though. … There isn’t even a way for me to put a link to my twitter or my personal website so that I can drive that traffic somewhere useful.
Yet he links to his twitter account on the same page where he claims there is no way to do so. He posts his email address. Then in an update to the post, he says he has received so many emails he is having difficulty replying to them all.
See where I’m going with this? The traffic doesn’t do anything for you unless you know what to do with it. He got the attention he wanted, he just used it to get people to email him rather than buy his book or share his new single or stop by his bakery because they like him a little more after reading his work.
I teach a college class about tech trends, productivity, and all that nonsense, and here is a story I tell when I lecture about why anyone would ever post anything on the internet:
A few years ago I was at an open mic at a coffee shop. One of the performers that night was a young lady who absolutely smashed it. She was so disproportionately good, and very talented proportionately to all talent ever. At the end of her set, she told everyone she was selling her CD for eight bucks outside. So I went out there to buy one. She handed me a CD-Rom with her name written on it in Sharpie. I asked her if she was on twitter or anything. She laughed and asked why she would be on there talking about her breakfast.
And I thought about that. Here was a woman to whom nothing could be more important than attention career-wise. She was making amazing things, and needed to get those things in front of people. And I told her the best way to do that in this day and age is to get herself in front of people wherever she could. As much of herself as she deemed entertaining or interesting or worthwhile. Sometimes even none of those things.
Because that’s how this song goes now. We as creators are able to be complicated people just like anyone else, and people can choose how much they love or hate from what we show them, just like they always could. But along the way, people get to meet you. They get to know you. Sometimes they get to like you, sometimes they can’t stand you. But in the end, it’s attention. It’s exactly what you want. Because it gets your work in front of people, and some of those people will actually thank you for it.
That’s why we are here. There is plenty of selfishness that goes into the creative process, but there is also a great depth of selflessness. People make things because they have to. That need is hard-wired most of the time. But at the same time, most creators want to give you something. They want to make you feel something, or think about something, and that is a fair trade more often than not.
So when it became clear to me that Medium’s formula is an effective one for matching people who come here to think and feel something with people who come here to give it to them, there was no longer any doubt that this is where I want to be.
I haven’t touched content ownership issues, and I won’t. That simply is not important to me. I have a relationship with Medium. One I pay for with my thoughts and ideas. I give them words, and they give me a voice. Thanks to their hard work, that voice is far louder and far more focused than the one I have been able to develop in the real world or even the other virtual world.
That is why I write here and will continue writing here. Because that little link up there in my profile leads people to a thing I made, and after every instance of someone reading what I write, they get to decide whether or not they like me enough to come find me where I make other things. They get to decide whether or not to come outside and buy my cd.
And Medium has one hell of a P.A. system hooked up to this mic.
Thanks for reading. If you like this, maybe you’ll like this thing I made.
That young lady was and still is the very talented Nicole Vaughn. Go check her out. I don’t know her, and she doesn’t know me. This isn’t a commercial for her, she’s just really talented.