There’s a Lot to Be Angry About on Medium

But it’s rarely worth the pain to stew over it.

Shannon Ashley
Oct 5 · 6 min read
Photo by Radu Florin on Unsplash

I’ve never been a big fan of negativity on Medium. I’m sure that in my newbie stages there were moments where I read more seasoned Medium writers warn that “the gravy train was ending” and I thought they must be right.

There were times when I complained that “Medium doesn’t care about indie writers.” But for whatever reason, I just never latched onto that complete complaint mentality.

At one point, it became obvious to me that I needed to get off the fence and figure out how to work with the platform rather than rail against it.

So I did.

I’ve been writing on this platform for nearly 18 months, and I can tell you that things change. Stats ebb and flow. Sometimes, a lot of people love my stories. And sometimes, they don’t.

Through it all, I’ve learned not to sweat the flops.

But do you know what? I am just like you. I get annoyed. I have my own complaints.

Things like…

  • The new app update is jumpy.
  • Sometimes, I mysteriously lose fans and claps… as much as 170 fans in one day. And those disappearing fans don’t always come back.
  • The MPP dashboard isn’t always available to me because I’ve published so many pieces that the page just times out. It was unavailable to me for about a month this summer.
  • When you get to the tippy top levels of the MPP, I do believe that women have to work harder than men to get half the credit. I really do. There still seems to be an unending hunger (?) for work from millennial men regarding life lessons, work, tech, and productivity. On a collective level, it seems hard for audiences to take women as seriously as men.
  • Transparency. Obviously, we all have questions about earnings and stats. How can I have 4K fans one week but earn less than a week with 2.5K fans? (It’s rare but it happens.)
  • Okay, let’s be honest. Medium is sometimes glitchy AF. There was one stretch where I couldn’t edit any stories or grab my friends link because I got continuously logged out. Random timeouts are hardly uncommon.
  • It’s annoying that I can have like 25K reads and still only earn $1.
  • Sure, it’s frustrating to feel like I can’t get my foot in the door to certain Medium publications.
  • There’s a surprising amount of sexism, trolling, and bullying here.
  • It’s disappointing to get a featured story and then discover it’s not going on the front page. (Sometimes, it happens.)
  • Medium can feel unfair. Or confusing.

Honestly? There’s probably a lot more to be pissed off about Medium, but it’s tough for me to think of many more off the top of my head.

I suppose that’s because I really don’t dwell on the disappointments. You know, I once pitched a story to a Medium-owned publication that they accepted as long as I agreed to interview some experts. I did that, but then they didn’t think the story was a good fit afterall. So, the whole opportunity fell apart.

Was I sad?

Of course.

Was I angry?

Maybe for a minute. But the truth is that I knew this kind of thing happens all the time in publishing. Getting mad doesn’t actually get me further.

It’s okay to get angry.

But you’ve got a choice about what you’re going to do with that anger. The anger that stems from disappointment can get a little hairy.

That sort of anger rarely helps us. Instead, it leaves us stuck in our complaints.

Some folks think I’m negligent in my positivity.

They seem to think I believe that Medium is all sunshine and rainbows. They warn me to be realistic and recognize that Medium may not be here forever. Or 5 years from now.

But Medium is here right now, and I feel like I’d be a fool not to make the most of this opportunity.

Because that’s how I see Medium. As an opportunity. Do I hope that it’s around for a long time and that I can work with all of the changes?

Of course.

Even so, I have confidence that if Medium were to end tomorrow, I could find new work doing what I love. It wouldn’t be easy, of course. But it would be worth it.

And the same thing goes for Medium itself. It isn’t easy, but the results and opportunity are worth the effort.

Dreams come true every damn day.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re naive for following your dreams. Not if you’ve got your eyes wide open and you’re actually doing the work.

Today, Medium sent me my weekly stats and it looks like this:

These numbers don’t tell me that I’m amazing or anything like that. Instead, they tell me that dreams do come true. And more.

I mean, let’s be honest.

When I first began writing on Medium in April 2018, I just hoped to do something to change my life.

I never actually thought that my work would get 27 thousand reads in one week. And in case you missed it, that’s not bragging--I’m trying to give you some hope.

If an unpopular, awkward, Aspie woman can succeed here, you can too.

But negativity isn’t going to make it happen.

I’m not sure why a lot of people hate to hear this, but some seriously do. If I have to venture a guess, I’d say that in the midst of frustration or disappointment, none of us really wants to hear that we need a change of attitude.

Back in my mid-twenties, I was a temporary worker through Kelly Services. My first assignment was working in the vault of GE Money Bank.

All I did was check vehicle titles for accuracy and re-file them. It lasted 6 months and although I had a phone interview for a full-time position, I was ultimately not hired on to stay.

At the time, I was really upset and frustrated to be searching for a job again. Kelly didn’t want to pay me unemployment, so they took on a weird attitude like I’d done something wrong to not get a permanent offer.

And then a friend of mine made some sort of comment about how there must be better things in store for me. I never told her how angry I felt to hear her response. I wanted her to admit that this sucked and I should have been hired. I wanted her to take my disappointment seriously.

I felt bad. This was a big deal. Why couldn’t my friend see that?

If I’m honest, I wanted my friend to be negative with me when she was looking at the positives.

We can’t see the big picture when we’re negative.

A couple of months later, Kelly Services found me a temp position that made $2 more an hour, and this time I was hired on. Nearly 5 years later, I was still with the company and I earned $5.50 more an hour than I got from GE Money Bank.

What’s more, I soon discovered that everyone I worked with in the vault was laid off. I should be happy I wasn’t hired on because the company wound up making cuts quickly after my contract ran out.

At the time, I was far too negative to recognize that my disappointment was a blessing in disguise.

When we’re so damn negative, we can’t see our opportunities at all.

So yeah, there are plenty of reasons for me (and you) to complain about Medium. Yet I’m not particularly interested in doing that.

If I’m really honest, I believe the opportunity (aka the good stuff) outweighs the bad. So, I’m okay with knowing that Medium may not last forever, but I have no reason to foresee its impending doom.

Join my email list to keep in touch and I’ll send you my 12 tips to crush it as a blogger. Or, check me out on Write Already for a behind-the-scenes look at two female writers who are making it work.

Med Matters

Stories about all things Medium from an all-in Top Writer.

Shannon Ashley

Written by

Single mama, fulltime writer, exvangelical. It's not about being flawless, it's about being honest. Top Writer.

Med Matters

Stories about all things Medium from an all-in Top Writer.

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