I’ve written lots of pieces recently that receive almost no views, articles editors from top publications sadly informed me they couldn’t accept due to my headlines or content. Those same articles get glowing comments, people saying how incredible the article was, and how helpful it was.
Hey Anthony, I share the exact same experience. I’ve too had a lot of articles that editors rejected for these reasons and many of them became successful and celebrated by readers when I published. Them elsewhere.
Now, I don’t have anywhere close to the experience and reach you have, but I had the same thoughts about Medium for a while. I just thought I hadn’t been in the game long enough to have a say, so I kept my mouth shut. Here’s what I think is sincerely wrong at the moment —pretty much the same observations you’ve made.
- Medium shows too much random political, social justice, and other content I couldn’t care less about. There’s nothing wrong with these articles or topics — but I don’t fucking care, so get your algorithm in check. The “trending articles” on my front page are 90% data science and 10% politics, both of which topics I never expressed any interest in.
- Headlines are supposed to make readers click. Nobody likes clickbait, but just don’t curate an article when the content doesn’t keep up with the promise, and everyone is happy. Besides that, Medium publishes obvious clickbait in their own publications, so what the fuck? (Check this piece for an example)
- I’ve been reading online for more than 15 years now, and yes, I think Medium gets online reading wrong. For the same reasons you mentioned, I think their new policies seriously harm their platform. As a reader, I don’t want some obscure headline that I need to put serious effort in so I know what the article is about in the first place. I’ve got a problem, and I want a how to to solve it.
Bottom line: I don’t like Mediums new policies one bit — and it’s not because my views plummet (I wouldn’t know if they did as I rarely check my stats at all.) I don’t earn much money on Medium — I write for the sake of writing. I dislike them because they take away from what great online writing is for me, as a reader. And judging by what the “big ones” like you and Nicolas Cole have to say about the subject, my view isn’t that far off from reality.
So, Ev Williams — I don’t know what you’re doing with Medium right now, but it seems you made a crap move.