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Let’s Get Relational — Why Relating To Others Drives Your Success On Medium

  • 12 min read

Why relating to other writers drives your success on Medium

I received the $500 bonus. Learn from my hands-on examples to take action and get relational — because success depends on how we interact with each other.

When we were children, we all learned to ‘treat others the way you want to be treated yourself.’ That’s the Golden Rule of relationships. But do you know how this principle applies to our social interactions on Medium to make it a more ‘relational’ platform?

Alongside a series of changes throughout the last several months toward a ‘more relational Medium’, Ev Williams and the creator’s hub of Medium announced in their latest email:

‘The new homepage feed on web is primarily driven by who you follow. As a writer, readers who follow you will be more likely to see your stories on Medium.’


‘The who-to-follow section (…) helps readers find writers to follow. We’ve launched an update to keep these recommendations fresh, and improve writer discovery. This update led to a 25.9% higher success rate for follows, meaning more readers finding writers to follow.’

Medium, as a social media platform, is all about relationships, isn’t it?

On the one hand, it’s about the relationship one has with oneself (for me, writing is meditative; it helps me find my own voice and become clear about what is important to me). Secondly, it’s about ‘relating’ to interesting other writers on Medium. There are quite a few of those, would you agree?

Yes, it’s ‘a thing’?

Recently, one of these impactful writers, Patricia Rosa, shared with me that she had noticed that I had been mentioning her in a few of my articles lately. Would that be ‘a thing’?, she asked.

She wasn’t the only one who reached out to me to say thank you or to ask the reason why.

This is my answer and the story behind the ‘let’s get relational idea’ for all of you.

How my ‘let’s get relational’ journey began

In April, I noticed, with a smile on my face, that my name Kristina God had been mentioned in an article on the pub ‘WoTWU’ by ScienceDuuude. Nomen est omen, as the saying goes. I am, of course, pleased to see my name in a good article after only a three-month-journey on Medium. The compelling story, which stayed with me long after finishing reading, came from Carlos Garbiras and was called ‘Strumming my Uke for Redemption’.

This is a touching story about playing the pineapple ukelele with his daughter. It’s a story about long forgotten and suppressed wishes.

When Carlos was young, he wanted to learn an instrument. He felt that fire burning within, but his mother had a ‘fixed mindset’, saying he would be good in ‘math’, but never saying he would be musical. One day, his wife bought him a uke. Now he has a wonderful audience for his secret talent: his daughter and his wife. No wonder 16 writers commented on the article and Carlos (as of 14 May) has received 1.5 k claps.

But there was more to the article. In his article, Carlos interwove pieces of various writers whose interactions inspired him to continue his Medium journey even though he felt tired and was thinking about quitting. I think this is an important point because there are a lot of wonderful writers who think about quitting or who already quit their journey!

‘As many of you might’ve experienced, the journey on Medium can feel disorienting.’ Carlos Garbiras

Medium is a community of writers and readers who support each other

For Carlos, a lovely poem by Lee Ameka was a booster to move on.

Lee also inspired Carlos to submit to Thomas Gaudex’s pub called ‘Scribe’. Then one day, when Carlos was commenting on another poem by Lee, scienceduude, owner of the wood publication ‘WoTWU’ reached out to him and said he would be happy to host an essay by Carlos. That essay was the article I was mentioned in, ‘Strumming my Uke for Redemption’.

Moreover, Carlos also came across an essay by Christopher Robin(no, that’s not a pen name) called ‘The averagest superpower’. Christopher runs a pub called ‘Songstories’ where Medium writers can share their experiences about how music makes them feel.

‘I started talking to the author and I realized that we are both kindred spirits and brothers of different mothers’, Carlos said.

In the end, Carlos even found a brother, a soul mate on Medium. Isn’t that fascinating?

One day Tom Hanratty commented on my ‘About me’ story:

‘(…) it really is a community of writers and readers. We support and help each other, and become friends with people we’ll never meet in person.’ Tom Hanratty

The Law of Reciprocity

Are you still wondering what the secret sauce of Carlos’s article was and what you can learn from it?

The answer is simple: it’s the Law of Reciprocity. It’s a behavioral pattern that has helped human beings survive for millions of years.

The best way to honour relationships is to practice the Law of Reciprocity — Jack Hanson.

This law basically states that when someone does something nice for you, you feel the obligation to do something nice for them in return — and it should be your guide when navigating relationships on Medium too.

Help others to build an online community

How did Carlos get so many comments and claps? He ‘related’ to other writers. Not only in the form of other writers’ articles but also in the form of the name, like mine and people who he thought may relate to his topic.

He also explained at the bottom of the article that, first in February, Ryan DeJonghe, and then in March, Dr. Funny, Michael Burg, MD (AKA Medium Michael Burg) made a call relating to each other. They labeled the idea ‘Let’s get relational’ in order to help others build an online community.

Earlier on, it was Terry Mansfield who received a huge audience with his article ‘You Don’t Need Magic To Succeed on Medium — Reciprocity Does The Trick’.

Medium is like a map of light bulbs

As a marketing manager, I would explain it like this: imagine Medium as a colorful map with 100 light bulbs. Under normal circumstances, maybe five lights go on when you write an article. If the article is particularly relevant and interesting, sometimes ten or 15 bulbs go on.

What do you think you would have to do so that more light bulbs turn on and more eyes see your article? Exactly! Get relational in order to get more views, claps and comments.

The audience becomes the channel

Whenever time with the baby and family allows, I read articles on Medium. The articles that are suggested to me are partly a result of the people and publications I follow or are based on my reading list.

In addition, previously unknown writers are indicated to me via people who comment on or clap for my articles. This means in plain language: if I clap or comment on an article of yours, then your reach expands as well. Because for my followers, your article could also be relevant and is therefore more likely to be recommended.

Moreover, I presume if I tag you in my articles this is beneficial regarding the algorithm of Medium as well. The algorithm classifies the relational tag as a sign that you and your stories inspired me to write my article. If you write for pubs such as ‘Illumination’ by Dr Mehmet Yildiz they also tag you and your stories in their newsletter. This is beneficial too because in this case a pub refers to you and your stories.

Hands-on examples to take action

How to take action? Here are a handful of writers who’ve hopped on the ‘let’s get relational train’ and have written a relational piece in response to one of my stories. That’s so great! And as I said, it’s good for you and it intends to benefit others as well.

  1. That’s how I display the ‘Let’s get relational idea’ at the very end of my article (the number of writers depends on the topic; it can be two to three but also more as you can see in the example below):

2. This is how I display other writers’ interesting articles which relate to my story and add value to it in boxes to highlight them Kristen Sears Cudd:

‘Let’s get relational’ responses to my stories I can highly recommend:

Toya Qualls-Barnette’s answer to my story ‘Does Listening To Classical Music Really Make Your Baby Smarter?’

Tom Fenske’s answer to my story ‘This Child Is Mine Don’t You Even Think About Messing With Him’

Julie van Maanen knew I could relate to the topic of shaming for fighting in front of the kids

Heather C Holmes knew from our interactions I would love this story about her remarkable kids

Kristen Sears Cudd tagged me in this hilarious piece and I recommended her submitting to the pub ‘Open Letters To’ by Scott Hughey (TheWriteScott)

K. Barrett about her way back to mud. She mentioned me and Ann Litts as inspirational nudgers.

Last but not least, there is Juliano Righetto from Brazil. He wrote a quiz piece about his job as an actor. I asked him a few questions about it and this was his reply

Food For Thought

I’m not here to tell you how to do it, just how I do it. But I’m absolutely sure that together we can do magnificent things.

Our underrated superpower is collaborating with others and ‘getting relational’ instead of putting ourselves in the center of everything. As a team, we can do so much more and help each other. Kristina God

10 benefits of the ‘Let’s get relational’ idea

  1. Helping others makes us happier
  2. ‘Service to others’, as Jay Shetty says, always wins in the long term
  3. My followers are your followers
  4. You find your own voice
  5. Taking care of each other
  6. You always achieve more as a team than alone
  7. If you like what you read, give 50 claps!
  8. You care about other writers as human beings
  9. You keep the relationship going
  10. You get inspired by others
  11. You develop a ‘service mindset’

My secret sauce of reciprocity

When writing, I spend a couple of hours doing these things:

  1. Linking to other people’s stories
  2. Tagging other people in my stories if I think they might find the content interesting, relatable or inspiring or whose opinion on the topic I’m writing about is interesting
  3. Keeping the relationship going by commenting and clapping for their pieces
  4. Caring about the people on Medium as human beings, for instance if somebody thinks about quitting
  5. If someone follows me for the first time I try (as long as my family life allows it) to read at least one article from that person to get to know him/her better and get a better feeling for that person
  6. I’m reciprocating claps and comments when there’s an article that moves me
  7. Reading other writers’ stories from the beginning to the end and not just the Take Away or skimming in order to be able to comment on a deeper level

Take Aways

‘The basis of social relationships is reciprocity: if you cooperate with others, others will cooperate with you.’ Carroll Quigley

Following the Law of Reciprocity on Medium will show that you are honest, establish your credibility and prove that you can offer something worthwhile: trustworthiness.

Hop on the ‘Let’s get relational train’ and:

  • You will build the strongest relationships by doing everything you can to help your followers, honoured writers and readers on Medium.
  • Treat other Medium writers and followers as well as readers as you would hope to be treated in their positions.
  • Strive to give them as much as they give you.

Let’s get relational!

Robin Jessie-Green Acacia Bergin Cosette Ubik Freda Savahl Niru Jennifer Jarvis Burt Melissa Steussy Jessica N. Goddard Sean McBrid eas well the fellow Modern Parent Ambassadors team Sylvia Emokpae Stephanie Gruner Buckley Ryan Glenn Adrienne Koziol Karine Barbier Eva Grape

💞 I think this article could be an inspirational nudge for you. Feel free to tag me in one of your upcoming articles! I’d love to read them.

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