I was on the receiving end of a vicious attack today for making a harmless remark that could not have been the real reason for the fire-spitting response. The response that even included a step-by-step instructions on how to address that person in the future to avoid unleashing the rage again. (sorry, but LOL)
In a way, it was funny. It was funny because it came from a person who otherwise comes across as a gentle, god-fearing soul who regularly praises the Lord on his Instagram account and posts sacred images. In short, it came from someone I would have never expected getting anything like that from.
Maybe this happened because we were in the comments section of the latest post in the long and never ending series of reports on disappearing claps on Medium. I guess pondering over these ongoing issues and wondering what the uncertain future on Medium holds can push some people over the edge. They simply lose it.
Medium’s power trip
Losing it is a perfectly natural response to a sobering and highly unpleasant realization that one has zero control over what’s going on. And the fact is that we, the ‘content generators’ here, have absolutely no control over any part of this platform other than our posts.
We, everyday writers, are nothing but insignificant and easily replaceable parts in the giant, insatiable power trip Medium founder, investors, and pet editors are on.
I came to accept this and have somehow managed to get to the point where I couldn’t care less because I have a life to live and it doesn’t revolve around Medium, or at least not any longer.
It wasn’t always like that, though. Like so many others, I too had high hopes. It was easy to fall in love with what used to be a groundbreaking platform for new voices, for all the untold, touching, and unusual stories. These stories were untold because there was no other outlet for them prior to Medium.
Now Medium ceased to be that one outlet as well. The untold stories are being send back where they came from — into nothingness of not having any platform that would be willing to show them to the readers.
I had a dream… A platform that would let me get contributions directly from my readers. A simple button where the readers could reward their favorite stories with as many cents or dollars as they wanted to.
Medium would take some percentage of that, but would (unlike now) have no control over the distribution of money — the readers (and not Medium editors) would reward the writers because, after all, the readers are the ones paying and should thus have a say in how their money is spend.
A dream… A platform that would let the readers be their own editors, where they could curate stories as they saw fit. Where they could make a selection of their favorite writers and keep seeing their posts in the feed.
A beautiful vision… A platform where a subscription form would be an in-built part of the platform, so that the writers could grow their personal email lists, and where small, independent publishers could thrive.
There would be no need for external developers who developed and now started to charge steep fees for a subscription form — no free plan available any longer, just so that you know.
This dream of ours could actually work, but we’ll never know for sure because Medium opted for a major power trip instead. Medium lately is all about power, total control, and greed.
An experiment it was, yes, but with the writers used and seen as no more than easily dispensable numbers rather than valuable partners in the process of the media revolution Medium was supposed to create.
And so this so-called revolution led to dictatorship instead of democracy. It led to equal suppression we have everywhere else. It led to no freedom and having no voice. It led to dealings behind the scenes with access denied.
It led to us being left in the dark. It led to many already giving up and migrating elsewhere or losing their shit, snapping and throwing vitriol at their fellow writers. It led to toxicity and coldness. The chance for a civil discussion and playful exchange of opinions diminishes when things go as far south as they have gone on Medium.
Have you noticed, by the way, that I haven’t tagged anyone here, no Medium, no Your Friends on Medium, no Medium Staff, no Ev Williams…? And why? Because they couldn’t care less and it would have been pointless.
I’ve been around long enough to know when someone not only doesn’t give a shit, but is deliberately working on destroying a relationship. Medium used to have a relationship with their writers, now it has full power and control over who will get paid and how much, who’s posts will be aggressively pushed to the point of insanity and who’s left to rot unseen.
Medium can play with claps and stats and tailor the code in whatever way it suits those in the position of power best.
I came a across a developer who promoted his, oh, ever so awesome pop-up subscription form designed as a wheel of fortune. ‘Fear not, dear business owners,’ he comforted us, ‘while some of the fields on the wheel indeed make it seem that it would be possible to win a 90% discount or get a free offer, you’ll be able to fix the odds so that nobody ever wins.’
None of us will ever win big on Medium. Ever. The wheel hasn’t been coded that way and we are not the ones in the position of power here. Any power. So that’s how things stand. But is it worth losing your mind over this and go snapping with vengeance at your fellow writers because of it? I don’t think so.