The View From The Bottom
Reflections on the Top from a privileged Bottom Writer
One can’t help but notice that a number of people are unhappy writing on Medium. They appear to be mostly long-timers at or near the top in readership. They lament:
- The algorithm changed.
- The money is no longer good.
- I have to move to another platform.
- I’m a starving artist and may have to go back to my “real” job. Gasp!
I’m a relative newbie, just a couple of years, so please use your grains of salt while reading.
I continue to enjoy Medium. It’s much more fun to spend my time writing with reckless abandon than to fulfill promises made in the real world. And it’s also fun to enjoy the social network aspects by leaving pithy comments on other folk’s articles. Yes, pith is in the mind of the commentator.
But mine is an atypical condition. Lots of my stuff goes to Crows Feet, a publication for mature audiences. No, not Christine Stevens kind of mature. Crows Feet is mainly written for and by people who are largely past that phase. We’re “Super-Mature.” (Post-mature? Really-mature? Old-enough-that-we-should-be-mature, regardless of maturity level?)
In addition to being old, I’m in the fortunate position of not needing to make money from writing. A number of factors come together to provide this comfort, so differences in income from writing are not likely to rankle me. Hallelujah!
One month I actually made enough to buy one beer, but the gout has convinced me that eliminating that beverage is prudent. So I squandered my windfall on an apple fritter.
Yeah, I know, there are others who really need income, and I feel for them. Perhaps every time, instead of sometimes, I should uncheck that box that says “pay me a farthing for this article.” Or should I get off the platform entirely, so that my drivel does not crowd out the wonderfully written and intellectually important work of folks who really need to be successful at this writing thing.
“Not likely,” said his ego. “Why waste all this nice privilege you’ve spent your life acquiring and inheriting?”
Privilege is like an unfelt and constant gentle wind at one’s back. Sailing on effortlessly, it’s difficult to understand why those headed in the opposite direction are tacking so frantically.
Here’s the gist. Medium, or something like it, is a godsend. I’ve written, mostly without publication (duh!), on and off for most of my life, and having an outlet like Medium is tremendous. It sure beats paying for postage on double spaced manuscripts. It’s also better than only sending emails to your accumulated list of friends and acquaintances.
On Medium, your stuff actually gets in front of additional eyes. New and different eyes. Never enough of them, but still, numerous pairs of eyes. And most importantly, these people are writers! They understand the pain and suffering of pushing your words out there, and are encouraging.
And don’t forget the Publications. Editors actually read what you’ve written, and when it’s not total crap, they often make helpful suggestions.
So, Ev Williams, thanks for setting up Medium, with all its warts and problems. For those of us who are forced to understand that our rewards probably won’t include a best seller, you’ve made the world a little better. You’ve given us the chance to contribute to an outlet that helps not only share our thoughts with new people, but helps us improve our offerings at the same time.
And we forgive you for Twitter, Ev. Maybe.