Why Medium is Bad and you Should Feel Bad
Medium is a blogging platform where anyone can publish an article. On their about page, they are self-described as “The best ideas can change who we are. Medium is where those ideas take shape, take off, and spark powerful conversations. We’re an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Our purpose is to spread these ideas and deepen understanding of the world.” As pretentious as this description may sound, Medium’s attempt at saving the world may actually make the world worse.
Generally, there are two ways of approaching the democratization of ideas. One is called “the idea marketplace” or “idea natural selection.” It states that ideas follow a path similar to how companies behave in a capitalist society or animals in a changing environment: The best ideas win. Medium seems to firmly believe in this perspective. The other way of looking at the democratization of ideas, the view I think is more rational, is called “idea virus theory.” In this concept, an idea is similar to a virus in that, yes, the best-adapted wins. But also that the best adapted is not necessarily the best for society. Under this perspective, the best adapted or formulated ideas are also the most appealing ideas. The more appealing an idea, the more it spreads.
Idea viruses don’t care if the idea they hold is a fallacy, racist, sexist, inciteful of violence, or misleading. They just are what they are and will remain to be as long as humans can communicate. Modern platforms that allow the democratization of information, like Google, Facebook, Twitter, or Medium, have also allowed an exponential and unprecedented increase in speed at which idea viruses spread. We live in a world where “falsehood diffuses significantly farther, faster, deeper and more broadly than truth in all categories of information” (Chadwick, 2018)(watch The Social Dilemma if you’re curious about this.) When platforms like Google customize search results to location and personality (which they do), idea viruses have an optimized route towards people who will frictionlessly absorb the idea virus. These “viruses” become harmful when they contain appealing unfactual ideas that polarize people. The way Google and Facebook organize personalized information misleads people into believing “everyone else also thinks this way.” Medium is the place where anyone can write anything regardless of anything. It is the birthplace of public ideation (idea viruses.) Google (and all the other tech giants that allow for sharing articles) are the dirty needles transmitting the virus.
P.S: In other reasons why Medium is terrible, their login system of sending a link to your email SUCKS. Why can’t I have a password, huh? Why do you have to change a system that already works?? Yes, I am a bitter tech enthusiast that hates it when a platform thinks they are so unique that they can just reinvent the wheel. UGH
About — Every idea needs a Medium. (n.d.). Retrieved November 01, 2020, from https://about.medium.com/
Chadwick, P. (2018, March 19). Why fake news on social media travels faster than the truth | Paul Chadwick. Retrieved November 01, 2020, from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/19/fake-news-social-media-twitter-mit-journalism
Echo chamber (media). (2020, October 22). Retrieved November 01, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echo_chamber_(media)
Google Personalized Search. (2020, April 25). Retrieved November 01, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Personalized_Search
How TO — Login Form. (n.d.). Retrieved November 01, 2020, from https://www.w3schools.com/howto/howto_css_login_form.asp