How Do the Old and New Medium Differ?
Musings of a veteran Medium noob
I’ve been on Medium since its start; since 2013 I think. Or, rather, I was on Medium at its start; ‘have been’ is the wrong tense and I explain below why. I mostly read articles during Medium’s first 2–3 years (during its ‘free period’, however long that lasted) and I occasionally wrote my own as well.
Then I took a ~6 year Medium, Facebook and general social media hiatus -well, everything except Twitter, but even that I used sparingly- and after I unfroze my Medium account a month or so ago I discovered Medium was now monetized. Not just for writers but for readers too. I found that out after I read two random articles and then I got the familiar ‘no hard feelings’ e-mail informing me I read my daily quota of free articles.
So I am, essentially, both a veteran and a Medium noob at the same time. This is a much different Medium than the one I used to know. I upgraded to the premium plan because I wanted to monetize my -mostly fictional- writings and because I wanted to get up to speed with some of the writers I used to read back in the day, such as Ethan Siegel and his “Starts with a Bang!” column — now apparently called ‘publication’.
I re-entered Medium via the back door, in a sense. The back door’s name is called ‘Vocal’. I started writing for Vocal in early January (edit: I deleted my Vocal account on March 30 due to reasons I explained here), I upgraded to their premium Vocal+ plan a few days later, and when I started to seek alternative platforms I got that e-mail from Medium.
Back when it launched Medium had no plan at all, no publicly announced plan anyway. It was spawned off Twitter -from some former Twitter exec as far as I recall-, there were no ads (there are still none, though I read that there used to be for a while) and the entire ‘plan’ was “Write, keep on writing, and we’ll see how we are going to make money -if we even make money at all- later. Oh, and don’t forget to write!” The archetypical Silicon Valley start-up in other words!
I knew that could not last long so I’m not surprised by Medium’s monetization revamp. What I’m in fact surprised about is it took so long. I am still exploring and (re-)discovering this brand new Medium but I would be lying if I didn’t confess that I miss the ‘undefined anarchy’ of the first few years. All good -or anarchic- things must come to an end I suppose. I wonder how this new Medium is going to work for me and everyone. Now that I joined its MPP program I’m eager to find out!
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