Thank you for the mention Stephen and I feel exactly the way you feel. Most months I make less than $400 with or without effort. I figured this site is as biased as social media platforms are. A few things I notice.
- People I have subscribed to previously I don’t get there work anymore, especially Black writers. I never get notifications from Ezinne Ukoha, John Gorman or Interculturalisticman which is very frustrating. Likewise with your work, I follow, but rarely do I get notifications. It makes it harder to read their writings. I’m finding I’m months behind.
- The site is heavy pro feminist, pro White women issues, sex, tech, even bitcoin which puzzles the hell out of me to no end. I see a lot of the same drivel I don’t want to see. The same people always talking about sex is quite frustrating. Even with LGBTQ writings, they are Anglo/White leaning regardless of gender. It’s hard to be reached by someone that doesn’t have the same culture/ background. It’s difficult sometimes to find empathy when the same people are screaming about the same kind of people. Every. Single. Time.
- Algorithms. We can’t beat them. Medium picks what’s curated. I used to get curated quite a bit, not so much now since the change. Medium is going to always control what we earn. I hate this because people with original like myself rarely get featured. I feel like Medium has turned into a NY post/Vogue/Vanity outfit. I didn’t come here for that shit!
- Publications. I hate them. They work as a double-edged sword for writers. If you write for one it’s a way to reach more people of they have good content. Some pubs pigeonhole readers. You can only write about the same topic so much before a reader tires of you. Thus far I only write for two, and I write when feel led by a prompt. I can’t just write junk for my readers. Also, Medium has snatched a bunch of writers from international publications which sucks the air from the site. They promote those creatives, first. As you’ve said, there will be no way we will ever make money on this site if you don’t fit into their preferred niches.
- I have seen my work regurgitated by a quite a few feminist and others writers on race with no credit. I hate that, but clearly Medium doesn’t have police for that, so they are able to profit from my inspiration.
- Racism. The algorithms clearly likes the words of White women and words typically spoken by White writers prepared for White readers. Some of the most circulated pieces are by White women. I have to dig for faves like LaMar Going which is unfortunate, because he writes about many things I experience. I also love to engage with people who see differently. Men are heavily suppressed on this site, regardless of ethnic makeup. which is a shame.
- Poetry and Haikus I enjoy, but I notice Medium circulates them more than other creative writings. Not sure why, but I read what I can. It seems they are they first thing on my reading list daily.
- Lastly, article lengths are a bit much for readers. Most readers want to read a lifetime of shit in 2-4 minutes which is absurd. Tech has dumbed us down. I’m intentionally refusing to write short pieces to appease lazy readers. You can’t get 12 years of education in 2 minutes, so I’m not trying to accommodate such readers. It’s slow-going developing a following of thinkers and open-minded folks, but I’m here for it. One day, we are going to figure out social media us really bad for our minds, and we will hopefully yearn for the days where quality trumped quanity. In any event, I can’t write junk. I’d rather say nothing than to waste time.
I miss my faves, and I think Medium is forcing us to read the works of other writers while fulfilling whatever agenda they have. I am not sure I will ever be able to make more than I am earning now because of the unseen obstacles and algorithms controlling everything. I write with hopes of being discovered by some above board nonprofit publication and asked to write things full time. Wishful thinking I suppose. I share your sentiments about the sketchiness of the earning models here. They definitely have a racketeering scheme going on here lol.
As long as my writing covers the $5 membership fee, I will write.