The Great Medium Experiment
Iâ€™ve been running an experiment with my last few longer-form pieces of crossposting them to Medium. Iâ€™ve done it on the occasional, ad-hoc basis when I write something that I feel needs to reach an audience outside of my circle. This includes the expanded, and revised version of â€œA View From Inside the Welfare Systemâ€, which went viral. Iâ€™ve also written at least one piece, explicitly for Medium, â€œGeek Culture and its Discontentsâ€. So far, itâ€™s not had much of an impact, but it might also be too early to tell.
But why Medium? Iâ€™ve been, and remain skeptical of Medium as a platform, and Iâ€™m not the only one. Ownership of my words is important, even if Iâ€™m making a sum total of six bucks a month from them. (If you want to change that, you can become a subscriber here.) Iâ€™d be happy making nothing, if I knew I was reaching people, but Iâ€™m sometimes not even sure of that. Itâ€™s a tough time to be putting words on the Internet.
So, instead of trying to branch out into other mediaâ€”because that worked out so well last timeâ€”cross-posting seems to be the best of the options. No matter what happens to medium, my writing will remain at this URL until EMPs wipe out all technology. Yet, I also exist on the largest platform for long-form writing. My name, profile, photo, are all out there, hopefully to be discovered. Maybe theyâ€™ll follow the links back to the source and start clicking around. Plus, Medium makes it a lot easier to share things. Iâ€™m not willing to install tracking scripts for Facebook and Twitter just for the sake of a few clicksâ€”though I am willing to set up a Facebook page for my writing.
The goal of crossposting to Medium is to, I suppose, re-capture the lightning in a bottle moment of the most successful independent writing Iâ€™ve ever done: the aforementioned â€œA View From Inside the Welfare System.â€ It was not only a Medium Editorâ€™s Pick, but made it to the front page of MetaFilter, which made me super-happy. The only thing I didnâ€™t like is that nothing long-term came of it. I had nothing else to say about my time working for the Welfare Office, and it was off my usualâ€”for lack of a better wordâ€”beat, anyway.
I just wish Mediumâ€™s WordPress plugin was more effective. It seems that scheduled posts and anything published through the WordPress API doesnâ€™t get sent to Medium. This sucks, as I like to line stuff up ahead of time for publishing. At least tagging posts works, though Iâ€™ve never used the post tagging feature in WordPress since I relaunched the current version of Sanspoint six years ago. Perhaps the Medium folks will see this and fix it. Or, perhaps Iâ€™ll give up on this experiment after a few more weeks, and then I stop worrying about it. In the meantime, like and share, I suppose.