I’m not really new to Medium. I started with Medium in 2015 and found it interesting, but not compelling. So I continued on Blogger for awhile. Then I found Steemit and worked with them for awhile. I even perused Patreon, but their text editor left so much to be desired. Now I’m here again on Medium and I’d to share some perspectives with you.
I don’t usually write “cheerleading” posts about the platform I’m using to write my blog. But my experience with Medium over the last few months has been very encouraging. I’m not the most prolific writer here, but I do enjoy writing, so I’m always looking for a better audience.
Because I’m focused on writing, I’m not really into marketing and I’m really not that good at social media to promote my work. I may get into that someday, but then if I really go whole hog, this will feel more like work when I already have a day job and I’m a father to two wonderful kids and husband to a great wife. Family comes first.
So in order to write for anyone, I rise long before everyone else even stirs in my house, and I write. I write a gratitude list. I write a morning page, and then I write an article and publish it. That’s most of my morning routine right there. I write because I love the state of mind I can achieve in the process of writing, editing and publishing my own stories.
I started out on Blogger in 2006. Writing was still mostly a hobby and I was not consistent about it. I didn’t see that with properly applied marketing, that I might actually pull a few bucks from Blogger. Combined with Twitter and some automation, I managed to create a blog that has 250k views, but it never earned much money for me only because I didn’t take the time to figure out how to make Google advertising work for me. I stared a family in 2012, right around the time that my blog took off, and I’ve been really busy since then.
Then I tried Steemit in 2016. My Steemit blog is still there, and it will be there as long as the blockchain that stores my blog is supported by the servers that run that thing. Steemit was an interesting concept. You sign up, you verify your identity with your first post and then you start posting. But to earn money, you have to really engage your audience. You have to build alliances and make friends, and work with teams of people to actually build revenue you can use. And you have to get those votes in 7 days or your article is done. No more earning after that.
I didn’t like Steemit, but I thought it would be a great avenue to work on, so I gave it a try. During my time there, I learned about the Gift Economy, and that it works by creating an implied debt in the minds of the people you give to. I think we already have something like that in Congress and our statehouses, so I came to the conclusion that such an economy might be nice. But for my writing, that wasn’t what I wanted to do.
Then I heard that Medium was paying authors. It wasn’t when I first started on Medium, but it was when I circled back a couple of months ago. So I started reading articles on Medium. I got hooked. The articles here are good, very good. And they are far better than most of the stuff I saw on Steemit because the folks on Steemit just can’t let go of cryptocurrency. On Medium, people write about everything and a lot of what they write about is stuff I want to read about.
But as I was reading, I noticed that some articles were for “Members Only”. I could only ready so many in a month for free. And damn, I wanted to read more. Much more. So I happened upon $50 that I had in a gift card I received from work and used that to pay for my subscription. And then I started marking my articles as “Members Only.”
My first month, I earned 67 cents. My second month, I earned $16 bucks. The third month I did 21. And I’m pretty sure I’m going to top $50 total for 4 months on Medium. If this gig pays for my subscription, I’m happy because I already have a day job. The current trend is that I will pay for my subscription and more by reading, writing and publishing on Medium. And I will have made that money with a tiny fraction of the effort I would have spent on Steemit or Blogger. See, all I wanted to do was pay for my subscription.
With Steemit, I still have to figure out how to turn Steem Dollars and Steem into US currency I can use to pay my bills, and I have to pay transaction fees with each conversion. How much fun is that? And since the banks built a futures market for Bitcoin, and they started using money they could print all day every day, to buy short positions in Bitcoin, it has been all downhill from there. And unless the cryptocurrency people figure out how to build transaction demand for their currency of choice, the banks are going to win. That is how hard it is to earn money on Steemit.
But there is another aspect to this relationship with Medium that I would like to share with you. The quality of the writing here is outstanding. If you just read and do nothing else, well, and you pay $50 a year or $5 a month, you help to support writers like me. But you do something else.
They don’t show ads here on Medium. They don’t even let you write a call to action that could potentially sell something here. The writing should stand on its own, and that’s just how I want it. But if Medium is not selling advertising, and they’re not working with Google, that’s $50/60 a year that is diverted from Google. For every subscriber.
Google is big enough that it doesn’t need to worry about Medium. But if we pay for it, we can earn some of that back and more. Perhaps Medium is a gift economy, but done right.
I don’t want to see advertising if I can help it. I used to listen to public radio, but the GOP has made a mess of that. I used to listen to Soma.FM for ad free music, but then I got a Google Home and then I found a reason to sign up for Google Play. No ads in my music or YouTube, ever, for about $11 a month. I can play whatever I want, whenever I want. And I am diverting Google’s resources from advertising to a service that I use without fail, every single day.
I use Medium every day. I write here. I read here. I comment here. Yes, I check my stats. Yes, I’m excited to earn a little money here. But I’m enjoying myself every day on Medium. I read, I clap, I comment, and I tweet many of the articles I read here. I’m building a humble audience here. And I’m doing that with a fraction of the effort and space in my mind that I had to use on Blogger or Steemit. To me, that is worth the price of admission.
The value proposition of Medium is worth $50 a year to me.