I subscribe to Medium. It’s not expensive: $5.00 per month. I also pay about that much to many newsletters (mostly because Substack makes it so easy). And that’s 0n top of what I also pay The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Reason, The Sun, Wired, and others that aren’t yet showing up on the giant spreadsheet I’m looking at, with expense-cutting in mind.
I started blogging in Medium because Ev Williams created it, with lots of noble intentions, and I wanted to support Ev and his work. I also liked its WYSIWYG-y approach to composing pages. And I liked the stats, though I mostly stopped looking at them after they defaulted to highlighting how many claps a piece gets. I never liked the claps thing.
I forget when and why I started paying. I half remember that it was around when they pitched me on maybe making money blogging after the subscription system started up. I wasn’t interested in that, but I was interested in Medium experimenting with money-making.
But the whole system seemed kinda complicated, so I didn’t pay much attention to it. I just kept posting now and then, and it seemed to work well enough, I suppose because I didn’t see the paywall. Or worse, I did see the paywall when something I wrote got popular and became “Members Only” somehow.
I see the paywall now on this post by Doug Rushkoff and this one by Cory Doctorow. Yes, I can read their whole posts in this browser, which has a cookie that remembers that I’m a paying member; but it doesn’t on any of the other browsers I use for different purposes, and I don’t feel like logging in on all of them.
Call me old-fashioned, but I hate being teased into subscriptions. That’s why I’ve been dropping subscriptions to newsletters that tease readers into a paywall. I feel over-subscribed as it is, and the paywall tease is just rude. Ask, don’t coerce.
Here’s a lesson, newsletter writers: Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters From an American is the top-earning newsletter out there, and she doesn’t have a paywall. She makes all that money (an estimated $5 mllion/year) in voluntary payments.
The question for me now is, Do I want to move my 105 Medium posts somewhere else, or just have faith that they’ll stay up where they are, in mostly readable form?
The one thing I’m sure about now is that I’m done posting there. Ev is gone. My own reading and writing energies are too spread out. One less place to write is a good thing.
I have three blogs right here using WordPress, and I want to focus on those, and on allied efforts that seem to be moving in the same directions.
Some of my old Medium posts may be worth saving somewhere else, such as here. But maybe what I haven’t yet written is more important than what I’ve written already.