For fellow borderline Millennials, who remember when the Internet was pre-Facebook, it was a very different place. Instead of click-bait headlines and toxic banter between now-estranged friends and family, it was place of community and blogging... lots and lots of blogging. Text ruled the web, with actual writers and thinkers (OK, and still lots of conspiracy theorists) leading the forums and "web rings." I’m beginning to wonder if the rising social platform Medium.com might just restore the art of prose and deliver the best promises of the Internet after all.
Make Thinking Great Again
In my opinion, the greatest poison that social media has injected into our collective conscience is a culture of meaningless conflict based on reactions and tribalism. We don't explore ideas or debate concepts by explaining ourselves or presenting evidence, we just piss on each other with trite phrases and personal attacks. Memes and headlines are designed to trigger emotional responses, rather than constructive arguments.
Worst of all, the very nature of Facebook's and Twitter's design encourages these kind of interactions. They only allow for small tidbits of information to display in your "feed" and discourage clicking out of their sites. Medium, on the other hand, is designed from the ground up for writing and reading.
Pay for Your News with Money, not Madness
Science has shown that willpower and focus are not things we have in abundance. We have low fuel tanks, and ad-fueled "free" media wear them out. Logging into Facebook is such an assault on your mind, it is common to forget what you wanted to post about in the first place.
When faced with the usual challenges of monetizing their platform, Medium decided to go with a paid premium model over personal data exploitation and advertising. Readers have to pay to access the best content on the platform, and writers get paid for making great content! This means that spending time on Medium is a serene experience of actually experiencing what you came for.
What About the Cool Factor?
If I could give Medium any advice, it would be to give its fan base some tribal fodder. Give us writing enthusiasts some swag to bring our smug sense of superiority out into the world! No one is "proud" of using Facebook; it lives on a level of social ubiquity and shame on par with masturbation. But participating in the Medium community IS something to be proud of.
Looking back, historically, if I love something then it tends to fail. Here's hoping my little prayer of hope for Medium isn't a kiss of death. However, I am pretty sure I am not the only one who still wishes the Internet could realize its true potential of connecting great ideas across the world and being a vehicle for productive conversation.