I don’t write this to complain, mock or belittle. Not even to criticize. If I’m critical, I’ll do my best to keep it constructive. After all, I live in America and our nation’s beloved First Amendment provides me with the right to speak — or write — in such a manner.
I also pay my $5 membership fee every month like everyone else and have done so without fail since April of 2017, as far as I recall anyway.
I’m entitled to an opinion, a say and a voice. I’ve never shied away or missed out on an opportunity to utilize all three of those things and I’m not going to start today — regardless of who feels what about it.
I acknowledge I write this, at basically my own detriment. However, if you were bothered by the overall atmosphere of your place of work or your favorite hangout, wouldn’t you feel compelled to speak up?
If you felt excluded, looked over, unappreciated or passed upon, would some part of you not start to wonder why that is?
And for the record, this is far from being just about me, it’s about all of us. It’s about this platform I love deeply, it’s members and it’s staff members.
I’ll do my best to keep my conspiracy theories at home, but I have a few.
As the old saying goes, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean everyone isn’t out to get you.
Now, obviously — everyone isn’t out to get me. Medium’s drastic transformation over the last few years wasn’t about me, I’m not a raging narcissist.
I’m also unconditionally supported by plenty of people on this platform and so is my work. Which is exactly my point — sometimes it feels like I’m somewhat of a black sheep to the people who really run things around here.
I do not include Medium’s curators in that group, because they seem to like me and also — I don’t think they have much say over anything. As much as I appreciate the emails informing me they just read a story of mine and selected it for curation, this has helped me none as far as I can see.
My guess as to why that is — is not a guess at all. It’s a hypothesis, an observation of sorts — a conclusion, really.
This conclusion being, my work along with presumably thousands of others, whether curated or not, is buried under layers of stories published in Medium’s featured magazines that are placed ever so opaquely at the top of every member’s newsfeed. I don’t even think I follow a good portion of them. Doesn’t stop the algorithm from trying to force-feed them to me though. To all of us, actually.
I often click on the profiles of the writers these magazines feature and am left scratching my head.
Who are these people, where did they come from and when did they get here? Nothing personal against any specific writer, I have no bone to pick with any of you. Most seem very intelligent and talented.
I just want to know what afforded a bunch of writers with 200 followers who arrived yesterday, the right to the top of the food chain and how every one of their stories ends up with no less than 1,000 claps?
Sounds petty maybe but listen, claps are not arbitrary. They are not Facebook likes — they are essentially a form of currency, as they equate to real income. They result in actual dollars. Dollars I came up short on rent last month, quite literally.
I’m not upset I didn’t win some popularity contest. This is about how I’m trying to make at least a respectable supplemental income from my work here — and yet never seem to get any closer to doing so. The numbers have decreased. How is that? I am two and a half years in, something has to give.
If I didn’t have the talent, work ethic or just wasn’t connecting with readers, that’d be one thing. But at the risk of sounding arrogant, that’s not the case.
Has my writing gotten progressively worse as I’ve put more and more time into working on it over the last two years? I doubt it. I know I’ve gotten better, from the time I first arrived here. My eyes and common sense tell me that.
If you do almost anything, damn near everyday for over two years — you’re naturally better than when you started. At a minimum, you’re not worse.
My followers have passed the 4,000 milestone, which I built the right way — by actually writing. Yet, my stats, claps and resulting income has gone down, dramatically by some standards.
Again, I just want an explanation as to how that’s possible.
Granted, this doesn’t mean every story is going to be a home run, not all of them will connect. All I ask for is a fair chance at the plate. Put me in, coach.
I wanted to keep politics out of this, but I can’t. Much of my point would be mute if I did. I ask every person reading this to look at the stories at the top of their feed and ask themselves if they notice a common denominator. If there’s not one today, look again tomorrow.
Because either I’m insane or an overwhelming amount of stories that end up at the top of my feed, are well, left-leaning, to say the least. Please understand, I say that as a democrat who doesn’t have a conservative bone in his body.
But I also say it and write this, as a straight, predominantly white male. An outspoken one, who doesn’t necessarily care about political correctness or even social cues, nonetheless.
And no, this isn’t an article about how white men are under attack in this country — but I’m tired of reading articles on this platform where they are.
It’s anyone’s right to write them — but they shouldn’t get a designated spot at the top of my feed just because of their subject matter, political view or who they were written by. I can’t say it any more politely or diplomatically than that.
Some of them are almost laughable. Don’t tell me the white male who writes an article about how white male rage is ruining this country isn’t catering or pandering to a crowd. Granted, he knows his audience and I commend him for that. Thing is, I don’t base my writing off of what will play well. I base it around what I have to say. I say what I feel I can’t, not say — as you can so clearly see by now.
This story will end up with like 64 claps and four comments calling me a misogynist who is out to make Medium Great Again. Whatever, I’m over it.
Presume you know who I vote for based on my race and gender as if that isn’t as prejudiced as the views of the people you claim to despise. Plus, you’d just be wrong — so there’s that also.
I know this effort of mine will result in absolutely no progress, it won’t be curated and will die in obscurity. Again, whatever. I’m used to it. My point is, things didn’t have to be this way. This place could have been something truly remarkable and life-altering for so many people — and not just those the higher-up’s favor.
This platform has become one that promotes stories about equality, while it simultaneously makes a mockery of the word itself through its practices.
Very little of what goes on here as of late feels unbiased.
We deserve more, we deserve better. An even playing field is all I ask for. For both myself and every writer here, who has been here before The Paid Partner Program even existed. For those like myself, who were exclusively invited into it before it was open to the public. That alone should mean something — but it doesn’t.
I used the phrase left-leaning to describe Medium’s politics — because Medium has politics and that’s clearly where they land.
Fine, no problem. I get it. However, I thought the left was about equality and progression? Aren’t those the selling points of the entire party?
Then why is this platform anything but equal and progressive? It’s left where it chooses to be, while the rest of us are ruled by an iron fist we never saw coming.
I usually come close, or just pass the $100 a month mark, as far as income I generate off Medium goes. The monthly email they send out tells me that puts me in the top 8 or 9 percent — which sounds great when you say it like that.
But then they make the mistake of telling me the top writers, let’s call them, I don’t know, the one percent — make up to and often thousands more than $10,000 a month on this platform. What is progressive about that gap between the one-percenters here and people like myself who average into the top ten?
There’s no equality at play because the exposure these people get is what makes up a vast majority of the difference. If any of my stories were placed blatantly at the top of every paying member’s feed, like theirs are — let’s just say I wouldn’t have come up $24 short on rent last month.
If only I knew how to write stories as a male feminist who hated white males, despite the fact he was a white male. Maybe there’d be more than Ramen in my pantry.
The irony is so thick I can taste it and the hypocrisy so bitter, it caused me to write an article such as this. One that will die on a vine, because of who wrote it and what it said. I’m just at a loss I guess. Thanks for reading.
Original version published on www.splicetoday.com