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3 Shocking Medium Myths That Have A Grain Of Truth

  • 7 min read

About shadowbanning, dancing on Medium’s grave, and earning peanuts.

Medium is changing, and it’s tough to predict what might be next.

There has been a bunch of (justified) speculation about Medium’s meltdown.

Today, I highlight three myths about Medium’s business that I suspect are driving extreme reactions such as “quiet quitting” Medium, throwing in the towel, or sharing very nasty, hysterical, and depressing rants (even from Top Writers).

Myth 1 = You can’t earn any money on Medium anymore.

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At the moment, writers are panicking about their drop in earnings and views.

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Writers share screenshots with me that show that their views have taken a nose dip. These screenshots definitely show a troubling trend.

However, there are also several writers who see that their views are increasing.

Some say Google's “helpful content update” (which I wrote about lately) helps them to get hundreds of external views and new referrals.

As far as I’m concerned I doubled my earnings from 2021 to 2022 (about $1,000+ on a constant basis (no viral hits included)).

But I didn’t double my views (except for some super months with viral hits or tons of external views).

In fact, Medium’s views dropped substantially — from 90M views during the height of the pandemic to 22M views in June 2022.

article Kristina God

Why?

People don’t have that much time anymore to read online. They are more thoughtful about how they spend their time.

That’s totally normal.

What to do?

It’s all about reading time. You have to write engaging stories to make people read your text.

You definitely can still earn some good money on Medium.com — no matter how big your following is! In this day and time, every dollar counts, am I right?

Some of my students only have a small following and joined already the $100 Club or even earned more than $500. One student had a viral hit with more than $1,000 for one story.

Myth 2 = There’s a roaster of writers who get pushed by the algorithm and others get shadowbanned

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Several writers already pointed out that they feel shadowbanned by Medium.

Like my students, they report a huge drop in their views and earnings. Some even are talking about $1,000 instead of $5,000 per month or 70% less traffic.

Why do they think they got shadowbanned?

Shadowbanning means that a platform limits your content reach by restricting visibility.

I feel the same.

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The moment Tony launched the “true follow feed” (which is a mess) and killed the avatars of your favorite writers at the top of the feed, people even asked me whether I quit writing.

They don’t see my content anymore.

I guess it's because I write short form (not Tony’s favorite although it’s taking over the internet) and often meta stories like this one which isn’t appreciated by Medium. But who knows?

Did you know?

Even Top Writer Jessica Wildfire is complaining about her stats!

Tony replied and said it might have to do with the launch of the “Show less like this” button. People who don’t want to see doom and gloom, just click it and won’t see her again.

Jared A. Brock with 26K followers compared Medium with Facebook and also shared that his views are down:

“Medium is exposing my articles to just 1.65% of my 26,000 readers.”

In the comments, I shared that unfortunately, that’s the harsh truth!

Less than 1% see your stories

A few months ago, I wrote already about it.

Now with the new “true follow feed” less than 1% of my followers are seeing my stories.

Some subscribers even reported they didn’t get my emails.

Additional information: I think that Tony is setting up a roaster of writers such as Tom Kuegler and Nicolas Cole. They were gone, now they’re back.

Also, The New York Times started sharing stories on Medium again.

So I guess there’s definitely something going on behind the scenes to sustain paying members and attract more by keeping writers people like to read.

I even heard that big publications such as “PS I Love You” are thinking about coming back?!

Myth 3 = Medium will die any day now.

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This is my favorite one.

Since I’ve been writing on Medium, people are writing about the death of Medium.

It’s definitely past peak Medium and the gold rush days are over but to insist that Medium will die any day now is in some respects to think that humanity will cease to exist any day now.

It’s a company.

Companies fail as humans do.

There’s strong competition out there: Vocal, NewsBreak, Substack, Twitter… you name it.

People are leaving in search of greener pastures. But do they succeed? Often they come back to Medium or quit writing altogether.

  • If you write on NewsBreak you shouldn’t read the Reddit-ish comments.
  • On Vocal, the earning system has changed and you need to promote your work outside of Vocal to earn.

Since Medium cut funding, big publications are leaving Medium. That’s true.

However, Tom Kuegler’s “Post Grad Survival Guide” is back. I heard through the grapevine that “PS I Love You” might come back as well.

The New York Times is publishing on Medium again.

The Betters (Tony Stubblebine’s pubs) as well as Start it up, Mind Cafe, and so on are still there.

Other wonderful niche publications by indie writers are booming and blossoming.

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Bestselling authors such as Ryan Holiday (“Ego is the Enemy”) are publishing regularly on Medium.

There’s no visible curation anymore, Medium reduced its staff by 29 (one-third of the company) and journalists are gone, still Tony Stubblebine is even thinking about taking Medium public one day.

“This is a really persistent company,” Stubblebine said in an interview with Silicon Valley journalist Casey Newton.

“We don’t always make the right decision, but we’ve been really persistent.”

Final Takeaway

The new “true follow feed” is totally busted and annoys me every day and I think Medium deserves the blame for this and many other things.

Writers are the heart and soul of this platform.

Without the mass of us, Medium would be a blank page.

The good news is: you don’t need to run away screaming and crying when you hear about all those shocking myths that have a grain of truth that makes them believable.

A good chunk of them is justified but often it’s also about our own expectations!

Our expectations of…

  • how much we can earn on Medium
  • how many of our followers we can reach on Medium

In my view, writing here is not a waste of time.

It’s still a great opportunity.

Stop dancing on Medium’s apparent grave.

Start embracing the process and the NOW.

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