The Tale Of The Establishment’s Migration To Medium—And What It Means For You
Once upon a time (read: July 2016), Silicon Valley’s preeminent social publishing platform (read: Medium — launched in 2012 by Twitter cofounder Ev Williams) approached The Establishment (read: the very website you’re perusing right now) about migrating from our home on WordPress to join the ranks of digital publishers like ThinkProgress, The Awl, Pacific Standard, and Femsplain in the broader Medium ecosystem of talented writers and engaged readers.
Your protagonist (again, that would be The Establishment), had a number of concerns: What of all the painstaking design work that had gone into our WordPress site? What of our readers — the very best in the cosmos — who’d come to expect a certain, dare-we-say, unique and beautiful brand look?
And looming largest of all in our minds, what of our almost unheard of autonomy? Would we have to sacrifice our intersectionality and integrity; our anger or delight in expletives and sex; our commitment to publishing those unheard voices central to our societal salvation, on the altar of the internet gods?
Shauna Stark, a former executive at Intel, doesn't have fond memories of her career in Silicon Valley. "It was the '80s…www.cjr.org
It turns out, the move to Medium did not require the sacrifice of even a shred of editorial autonomy (or we would have, naturally, stayed where we were). What the move did offer, however, was quite enticing: Not only would we be able to tap into a giant network of new readers to continue spreading the good Establishment word and gain access to a gorgeous publishing tool, but the Medium migration would also allow us to (ethically and without sacrificing quality) begin monetizing our venture — essentially immediately.
Or, at least, that was what was promised.
The move to Medium did not require the sacrifice of even a shred of editorial autonomy.
Things, however, shook out a little differently than planned. In surreal, truly otherworldly timing akin to a Twilight Zone episode plot twist, just as we were switching URLs to activate our new Medium site, aforementioned Medium founder Ev Williams made a little (read: epically giant) announcement: The company was laying off a third of its staff and shuttering its sales force. In short: Our plans to monetize through the site, which had comprised the most attractive aspect of making the Medium move, were eliminated the very day — after months of careful preparation — we moved to the publisher.
I shan’t lie to you, gentle reader — it was a dark and shocking day for The Establishment. Beer was consumed, expletives hurled into the atmosphere, tears shed. But after our (understandable and if anything, rather low-key) cathartic endeavors, we did what every marginalized population does in the face of continued hardship: We got to work.
You can read about our new path forward here (including a story sponsorship and scintillating membership program, oh my!), but we also wanted to give the lowdown on all of the snazzy features our new digital home provides.
And so without further ado…
What does our move to Medium mean to you, dear writers and readers?
If you want, very little!
Aside from some shifts in design elements, nothing about our content or publication schedule has or will change.
However, if you are up for embracing a bit of change (we’re in 2017 now, so hopefully change won’t continue to be as gut-wrenchingly grim as it was in 2016 — RIP: Prince, David Bowie, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, Leonard Cohen, American democracy), there are exciting new ways to get involved with The Establishment.
By signing up for your very own Medium account, a vast array of new magical portals will open before you — not unlike tooting the whistle in Super Mario 3 or traipsing through the wardrobe to Narnia:
- Not only will you be able to more easily follow and keep up with the stories we’re publishing, you’ll also be able to see what our writers are producing on their personal platforms, as well as all the articles that the brilliant members of The Establishment community recommend.
- You’ll be able to recommend The Establishment content you love, too. Clicking the heart at the bottom of one of our posts will ensure that more people in the Medium ecosystem will see the article.
- You’ll be able to highlight the sections of stories that resonate with you, which the people you’re connected with on the platform will be able to see. You can use these highlights to share on social media, to start conversations, to spotlight a morsel of wisdom from a favorite writer — in short, to leave a small but mighty mark on the world of words.
- You can join in the writing fray! A Medium account enables you to publish your own articles, essays, sonnets, recipes, collections of Patrick Stewart GIFs, and haikus with all the same, sleek publishing tools we use now at The Est.
What about us isn’t changing on Medium
Amidst all these new developments, there is one thing not changing: The Establishment will still not have comments. For reasons we outlined when we launched, not enabling comments remains one of the ways we champion the safety and wellbeing of our writers; contending with abuse should not be a requirement of any job.
And so concludes the first chapter of our Medium tale!
We look forward to writing the rest of the story—and building a glorious, glimmering future for media—as always, together with you.