Writing for Medium has been an interesting experience but also quite disappointing. I decided to document my experience as there is very little out there on what it’s like to be a new writer for Medium.com. Evan Williams, Twitter co-founder and former CEO, created Medium to encourage users to create posts longer than the then 140-character limit of Twitter.
In May 2015, Medium made cuts to its budget which led to staff layoffs at dozens of publications hosted on the platform. Several publications also chose to leave the platform.
In 2016, 7.5 million posts were published on the platform, and 60 million readers used medium.com. That’s a lot of writers when you consider 7.5million posts were published!
There was an unsuccessful attempt to introduce advertising, leading to Medium cutting its staff by 50 employees in January 2017 and closing offices in New York and Washington, D.C. In March 2017, Medium announced a membership program for $5 per month, this offered access to “well-researched articles, insightful perspectives, and useful knowledge with a longer shelf life”, with authors being paid a flat amount per article.
This changed soon after, when Medium began paying authors based on how much users expressed their appreciation for it through a like button.
A user can activate the like button (claps) multiple times. The formula for compensation was soon adapted to also include the number of time readers spent reading, in addition to the use of the like button.
I joined Medium in February 2020 as I was curious to see whether my writing would gain more exposure. When I wrote for Lifehack.org I had regularly been one of the top writers and it was great for my confidence. This was in the earlier days before Lifehack.org became overrun with writers, similar to the current state of Medium.com. )Medium.com, on the other hand, has been anything but good for my confidence. Since joining, I have had approximately 3000 views on the approximately 20-30 articles I have written. It is incredibly difficult to get noticed on Medium.com as you are competing with many other writers. When I investigated, I found that many of the writers on Medium write successfully for other websites. Medium isn’t your average website for someone who has something to say. Many are competent writers who have been writing as a paid profession for many years.
Of course, that’s excellent when you consider the quality of the articles (and I have read many good articles) but if you are hoping to get noticed and propelled onto a higher platform, think again. It’s very difficult to get noticed as Medium promotes the most successful writers. As a newbie, you will rarely find that your article is being showcased on the front page. Despite writing some very informative articles, I have also found it hard to gain followers and receive any praise. So, it tends to be that two camps exist. The struggling newbies who pretty much don’t exist or the established writers who are on a roll and get a lot of exposure.
I have not been able to find any other shared experiences from new writers on Medium. If you are one of them, get in touch. I would love to hear how your experience panned out. I felt as if the competitiveness on Medium was killing my love for writing.
I always thought I was a pretty good writer but my forte lies in mental health. I had hoped that I could share useful and informative ideas on Medium. You may have great ideas but if you aren’t a top-class writer, Medium might not be the best route for you.
As of 2019, Medium is not profitable.
Perhaps, I need to try some of the suggestions in this post…
Source of info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medium_(website)
References: Hazard Owen, Laura (March 25, 2019). “The long, complicated, and extremely frustrating history of Medium, 2012–present”. Nieman Lab. Archived from the original on March 28, 2019. Retrieved 2019-03-28.