Sign up FAST! Login

A Click-Bait Experiment, and the Navel-Gazing Problem that Threatens to Ruin Medium

Stashed in: Content is king., Content, Medium, Viral Content

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

This author is not incorrect -- certainly I have seen far too many articles of the "20-something San Franciscan will now explain the meaning of life to you" on Medium -- but I think he doesn't know enough tech history to realize that Ev ALWAYS starts with his own friends and followers, and then broadens from there. It's not the worst strategy, although it is quite undiverse at this point.

Can Medium break out of its core life hacks, design, and San Francisco?

Less clear that Medium could do that than say Twitter. Because of the format.

Amazing that in 2015 photos of kittens still work.

Now, we all know how click-bait works. Garnish your post with a photo of a cute little kitten and animal-lovers will flock to your button like zombies to a brain smorgasbord.

It is an act of deception and, as such, was bound to provoke some small hostility (although the guy who replied with: “If I could vote for you to be banned, I would,” was probably taking his chagrin a bit far). But most people didn’t seem too put out by the dissemblance, with several confessing that they wouldn’t have clicked without the tantalising headline, but enjoyed the post all the same.

Bottom line: the piece got read. Roughly fifteen times as many people read the piece under the Elon Musk title, ten times as many recommended it.

I wonder if Medium is what PandaWhale would be like if we had 100 employees. 

To state the obvious, good writing (if you’ll allow me to assert that my writing is at least ‘good’) does not presently guarantee an audience on Medium.

There have been some welcome anomalies recently: ‘How to Lose Weight in Four Easy Steps’ by Aaron Bleyaert, and ‘When I’m Gone’ by Rafael Zoehlerto name the two most block-busting examples.

For the most part, though, The Triumvirate is all-pervasive.

Tech-illiterate as I am, I have no idea how Medium’s ingenious algorithms endeavor to filter and curate material to position it in front of the right eye-balls. But what I have noticed is that most of that most of the stuff I see on my homepage lands there courtesy of Medium’s most active and powerful users.

A disproportionate number of these ‘super-users’ are, themselves, ‘tech’ people. Many of them work for Medium, or write for one or other of Medium’s in-house publications. I’m willing to bet a disproportionate number of them live in San Francisco’s tech-start-up bubble.

Whether or not you follow these super-users (and many of them write beautifully), the stories they recommend are the ones that get circulating. And if most of the super-users are nerds it’s inevitable that articles from the TECH-LIFEHACK-ENTREPRENEURSHIP sphere will be the ones that come to dominate the site.

You May Also Like: