How to Stop Worrying and Love Medium Emails
Medium is different. It doesn’t need to psychologically manipulate you to make money off you. Evan Williams, the founder, has said explicitly he counts the total reading time as his metric of success. Medium wants you to spend more time reading and writing high-quality stories to make others read!
So they won’t hate me too much for what I’m about to tell you. End your addiction to your notifications and statistics! I haven’t checked my notifications in over a week and my statistics in over a month. There’s a green dot by my handsome face with 1K trying to get my attention.
A couple of months ago I checked notifications constantly, sometimes even twice in the same minute. I would go to a stories stats page and refresh waiting to see how many views I got in the last hour. It doesn’t take a genius to work out this was an unhealthy obsession. Coming to Medium and seeing no notifications left me with a sinking feeling in my gut.
I rely completely on Medium emails now and you can too. I know it sounds scary but I haven’t missed anything important. Streamline your Medium experience and focus on what drew you here in the first place. I’m sure you didn’t join Medium for the excitement of refreshing a page hoping for a single clap.
Here’s a break down of the different types of emails:
For people interacting with your work, there are emails for responses, private notes, fans, and highlights. Instead of reacting to the green dot, you can take back control by searching your emails and answer all at once. Highlights are the least helpful emails but it is still useful to know what is resonating with readers.
The greatest saving for your mind is not knowing individual claps anymore. Medium only sends fans updates for a story when it reaches 10, 50, and 100. This gives you a good idea a story is doing well without the need to hang onto each clap.
I’ll tell you a secret. For writers who have reached a tipping point, it’s hard to keep track of every fan. There are far too many notifications. Clap because you loved someone’s work not to get someone’s attention. For me clapping is being a good member of the community, not a strategy. A thoughtful response is far more valuable.
Publications & curations
The wait for a publication to reply can be agonizing. Yet refreshing the page won’t make it go any quicker.
The same is true for curation. You will get an email if your piece gets curated. Going to the statistics page doesn’t speed this up. There is an exception when tags are added after the first time a curator looks at it but this is so rare, it’s negligible.
These are my favorite. I get all the key information on my performance in 2 emails.
- Weekly roundup — New views, reads, claps, fans, followers and how followers found you
- MPP Monthly Earnings — The all-important monthly income
The truth is day to day your numbers will be different because there are many factors at play. It was a sunny day so more people were outside and less read stories. Who knows? It’s impossible to account for everything so stop trying.
The greater your sample the easier it is to see the trends. I know week-on-week, my views are slowly trending upward. I can see the number of followers I gain each week is accelerating and I’m winning over some amazing writers. Take this view and you appreciate your progress without getting trapped in overanalyzing black hole.
I’m going to tell you something you already know. Knowing your daily Medium income doesn’t change your monthly income. Are you going to try harder if the daily number is higher or lower? It should be irrelevant to your hunger.
Do you think you can give up notifications and statistics? I challenge you to do it. Start now and after the initial fear of missing out, you’ll regain control. I’m much happier now I can use Medium for what I want to rather than the compulsion I fell into.
I managed to do this by competing with my friend Zita Fontaine. We raced to see who could reach 1000 unread notifications first. She is a far better writer than me but I had a two-day headstart to even it out. I lost the game but we both won by escaping the tyranny of the dot.
Medium is exciting but it’s a website you use, don’t let it use you. The social media elements can be just as toxic as posting a photo on Instagram and craving likes. Yet reading incredible stories from all around the world is like nothing else without the distractions.
Who wants to race me to 10K unread notifications?
Have a wonderful day!