The Startup
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The Startup

Your Favorite Medium Writer Isn’t Always Right (Especially Me)

“A woman working at a laptop near a half-open window” by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

“Thanks captain obvious.”

Before you put this stupid article in the annals of your history (where it belongs), let me challenge you for a second.

You don’t know this.

You forget this.

Not just here on Medium either — you do this everywhere.

You see the tens of thousands of followers and the avalanche of claps and you immediately assume that everything stated in a particular article is right.

It’s popular, right?

So therefore it must be true. It must be right.

I’ll share something with you that my 9th grade US Government teacher used to tell us all the time..

“What’s right isn’t always popular, and what’s popular isn’t always right.”

-Mr Doyle, my 9th Grade US Gov teacher.

I can’t tell you how true this is.

You guys don’t see the backend of my stats like I do. I notice that when I FIRST publish an article, sometimes it has an extremely low read rate.

Like, a 20% read rate.

Then as it picks up steam (and claps), that read rate shoots up to 45–50%.

Spoiler Alert: This is mind-blowing.

People are ACTUALLY convinced to read an entire article based off the claps it has already received.

Was the article worse than it was before?

No, but it maybe seemed not as good because not many people clapped for it in the 15 minutes after it got published. My friends, it’s human nature to think something is good because it’s popular.

I met Manny Pacquiao the other day (it was crazy), and before our meeting I was so freaking enamored with the guy despite not knowing much about him.

Me and Manny. And Cheza Cabahug. ;)

But I knew he was popular — so he must be good, right?

Before I catch a lot of criticism, Manny is probably one of the most humble and “real” athletes there is. He does SO MUCH to help the less-fortunate here in the Philippines, but I just wanted to make a point..

Popularity means nothing.

1. Realize That We’re Not Better Than You

I write pretty matter-of-factly most times. I do sound condescending and arrogant, and I really can seem like a jerk I think as I look back on my posts in hindsight (I’ll try to get better, I promise).

Because of the way I write, and how sure I am about what I’m saying, it makes everything seem like it HAS to be true.

And then (sometimes thousands) of people get effected by this and maybe make small tweaks to their lives because of what they read.

I don’t want to act like I’m this big-shot influencer, but it would be wrong to say that absolutely nobody gets influenced by what I write. The same thing is true for you as well if you write!

And this can be such a tragedy if the writer isn’t careful. I have a full post to write about the dangers of influence that you’ll see soon — for now I’ll just leave it at that.

The truth is there’s so many perspectives to things. There’s so many ways of looking at sh*t and before you feel bad about yourself because of what you read, understand that we are no better than you.

I get overzealous on many occasions but just know that I don’t think I’m better than any of you.

Yes, maybe I know a little bit more about blogging but I can guarantee that most reading this know a lot more about life than me.

I just don’t want anyone reading their favorite writers to get too hurt or feel too bad about what they read.

We don’t know it all.

Sometimes we forget this, and sometimes we can come across as straight up jerks and end up putting a massive damper on a lot of people’s day because of it.

We don’t know everything. Have hope.

2. Realize That Your Opinion Is The Only One That Truly Matters

Read an article of mine and it changed your mind?

That’s freaking awesome. Truly. There’s no greater sense of accomplishment I could ever feel than if I did that for someone.

But if you straight-up disagree with something you read from a big shot writer but feel you need to change because they’re popular and “obviously” know the best way forward, keep your opinion!

I had a heated debate about whether an automated voice program said “Yanny” or “Laurel” the other day. In fact, most people on the internet did. It was a popular question.

These are the sorts of stupid things that go viral/get popular these days.

Again, popularity means nothing.

But seriously guys, it’s YANNY.

😉 I’m joking, I hear both sometimes.

I’m actually having a pretty deep inner-conflict about whether working 60 hours per week is the devil and whether we as human beings should just go back to living a more simple life off the land.

Seems like the people who have less here in the Philippines/don’t kill themselves working 60 hours per week are actually much happier than those in America (to me).

Who knew?

The idea of killing that entire economic construct to go back to living off the land is NOT a popular one in America. I think that’s largely because we haven’t even considered living a life with much less.

But that’s not the point.

The point is the idea of giving away a lot of your 1st world comforts to live off the land somewhere else is such a radical idea that I never even heard of it in America except for maybe one time. I’m 25.

How can such a good idea be so unpopular/smothered?

As I spend more time here in the Philippines, it’s starting to become VERY obvious to me that maybe the way 300 million+ people are living on the other side of the world is actually wrong. I talk about that here, actually..

I think that because the internet and Medium is so large humans start to think that all the best ideas naturally float to the top because of Google and algorithms and all that other sh*t.

The honest truth is it doesn’t.

So keep your opinion. Don’t be so quick to give it up. Maybe think on it for a few days and then change your mind if you want.

But keep it for now.

We’re all just as lost as you are.

The problem is because we have so many followers/views/email subscribers, we even start to think our way of thinking is 100% correct.

Popularity is a disease — especially to the people who are at the top of the pyramid.

I just wanted you to know that.

Thanks for reading.

If you want to put more messages out into the world YOU want to see, consider taking my free email course about how to get 1,000 followers on Medium. I’ll teach you how to grow a following here!

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by 330,853+ people.

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Tom Kuegler

Tom Kuegler


Travel blogger. 29 years old. Currently in Mexico. Get my free 5-day Medium course via email →