Less Than Medium
I have written several essays over on Medium over the last year or two. None of them have gone viral. Disappointing, but the price one pays sometimes for not being well connected already.
I was, however, willing to accept the possibility of the right person reading my work on the site, and guiding it to some form of popularity, which in turn would lead to maybe a few peanuts in payment here and there.
That will not longer be happening, in any way I can conceive, thanks to new Medium policies that have removed me from the paying part of the system.
That is to say, I could tonight write an article that went viral enough to be quoted on MSNBC or the like, and I wouldn’t make a dime from it. That’s because I’ve not convinced 100 people to “follow” me. It’s quite the letdown as a writer to find quality-of-writing taking a back seat to networking and popularity contests on yet another platform. And while one could argue that the potential viral post could in its turn earn me those 100 followers, my success and online popularity and “connecting” online up to this point does not bode well for it happening.
Listicles and how-tos seem most likely to go viral and gain followers for new people, on Medium and elsewhere. But even more than this is the “scratch my back and I will scratch yours” mentality. The work beyond the hard work is in fact the hardest work for someone Autistic and introverted like myself, whose true strength is actual writing.
I am not Plimpton, or even Eugene Robinson, but I like to think my Medium material is intelligent. Well written. One or two of them I count among my best work. But sadly not among my “greatest hits” because a writer must be a schmoozer in such circles. In fact, a schmoozer alone will now get someone paid on the platform, even with mediocre content.
I will continue posting on Medium, here and there, when no other platform seems appropriate. But as I said, composing quality work is difficult. Laborsome.
And to think, if I knew a few hundred people willing to click a button for me, it wouldn’t have to be half as difficult.
But it is quality or nothing. Or in this case, quality and nothing, barring a bit of luck.