With the turn of the calendar over to the new year I, as I stated before, decided to reevaluate some things I was doing online. Over the last couple weeks, I’ve rejiggered my personal editorial calendar a bit, deleted over a dozen inactive online profiles and made other changes. One of those was to stop publishing daily on Medium.
I get Medium. And I like the site and think it’s a good publishing platform, albeit one that doesn’t hold a candle to WordPress. There are a couple really good writing-oriented blogs, many of them with a vast number of contributors from the community, that I enjoy reading. Most of the site’s issues stem from its belief that it’s both an outlet, looking to pay writers and producers directly, and a platform, where the publisher has more control over everything, including monetization.
What I’ve noticed in reading those writer-centric blogs is that so many of the tips and tricks and advice about becoming a better writer or optimizing your personal branding are focused solely on doing so on Medium. If you skim or read for more than 48 hours you’ll encounter several – if not more – posts on how to become a top writer…on Medium. How to build your freelance business…using Medium. How to optimize your productivity…on Medium.
That’s all well and good and if that’s what you’re trying to do, more power to you. But it’s starting to seem a bit zealot-like as if there’s this whole group of people who are devoted to the religion of Ev and feel it’s their calling to spread the word to the unwashed. That attitude eventually turned me off for a few reasons.
First, 15 years in the social media/content marketing industry has made me sure of one thing: Platform-specific tactics almost never work out long-term. The required thinking is too narrow and is often inapplicable elsewhere. Plus, what works today isn’t guaranteed to work tomorrow as these platforms can change their systems at any time based on their own priorities and goals, not that of the user. Just ask any media company that pinned its hopes for survival on Facebook.
Second, tips and tricks are fine, but they’re 1) Not often immediately actionable and 2) More or less the same as the last 78 such lists I’ve read. This isn’t a problem that’s unique to the Medium crowd, of course. Much of the advice being doled out by social media “experts” via blogs, Twitter or other platforms often has me checking to see if it was published recently or in 2004 as it sounds exactly the same. I’m more interested in experiences and the lessons drawn from them, which are the kinds of “tips” I’ve tried to share.
Third, they’re cheap. Sorry, but that’s the truth. It’s easy to pound out the 14 (everyone always advises you to go with an unexpected and unusual number) ways to focus on your writing because all you have to do is reword the and reorganize the lists you’ve read from others, being seen as insightful and helpful despite the fact it’s all been said many times before.
Finally, I’m tired of being lectured to by people offering all the insights they’ve gleaned from the 300 posts they’ve published and refuse on principle to take part in conversations with such people. This may sound egotistical, but I’m in the big leagues, man. I’ve been writing a blog since 2004 and have more posts that I’ve published on my own sites or those of my employers as well as ghostwritten posts and more than I can possibly count. I’ve had more posts deleted by blogs I’ve written for that have gone out of business than you’ve had hot meals. Sit down and let the grownups talk
This is my experience and my perspective. If yours is different, good for you. Keep doing what’s working. Myself, I was feeling it was just adding pressure I didn’t need in my life. It wasn’t enough I was trying to succeed in various ventures, I now felt I wasn’t doing enough to succeed..on Medium. That’s alright, I realized, I’m good without that box being checked. And so while I still want to do something on that platform, I’m going to do so slightly differently and on my own terms.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.