That’s the long and the short of it: I’ve moved to Substack with my writing and have given up on Medium. I’ll tell you why.
From the time I started my blogs more than four years ago, I co-published most of my posts on Medium. I was attracted by the possibility of a large, pre-existing audience, and the reach offered by Medium. What I didn’t anticipate, and perhaps should have, is the inherent bias that exists within Medium and most of its readers and writers.
It seems that unless one is a raving leftist spouting utter nonsense, one gets few readers, few followers, still fewer comments or claps, and Medium doesn’t promote your work. I tried to convince myself, repeatedly, that good writing and well researched pieces that spoke truth to power would overcome the prejudice. I have a journalistic background where accurate and ethical reporting earned people’s respect. I anticipated the same at Medium. And was repeatedly disappointed. While I value the readers who appreciated my work over the years, they were few and far between.
The one piece I put up that got a huge readership, more than 44,000 views so far— mostly from China, as it turned out — has a title, The Melon-Breasted Girl, that makes it seem like a sex piece (it isn’t, really, but is a reality-based short story). If anyone doubts that sex sells, sex pieces, along with the leftist jive, are some of the most widely read and promoted pieces on the site.
I was recruited by one publication, which encouraged me. And then when I’d post things that didn’t fit their narrative, even though the allegations of fact I made in the pieces were thoroughly documented, they’d turn them down. I’m not about to change or sugar-coat my views nor rewrite history simply to please an editor, so I stopped sending my posts to them. At that point I pretty much gave up on Medium and posted fewer and fewer things there. And finally, more recently, I made up my mind and moved to Substack.
In one day, I received more views on Substack than I would get in a month or more on Medium. I’ve just begun at Substack, but I feel more of an openness there than I felt at Medium, which in large part drew me to it. I see people more closely aligned with my own views, which I rarely saw at Medium. I don’t expect everyone there will be of like mind, and that’s fine. That’s the whole idea of a free exchange of ideas, and having at least a level playing field. It’s what I expected at Medium, but never saw.
I’ve read that Medium is concerned about losing audience. Maybe if those who run the site realize that at least half, if not more, of the population doesn’t agree with the arcane ideas it promotes, or which most of its writers and readers hold, it might be able to turn that trend around. Reality, and not just ideology, has a way of making its presence known. I don’t claim to know all the reasons why Medium might be on a descending course and Substack ascending, but I have to believe that is part of it.
I’m not in this for the money, which has been paltry (to put it kindly) on Medium, and which (at least for now) I am not seeking on Substack. I feel strongly about things like journalistic ethics, freedom of expression, equal justice, rational economics, and domestic and foreign affairs policies that strengthen and work in my country’s interests and don’t kowtow to negative interests, no matter how virulent, internal or international. I sense that is a contrarian view on Medium, and not one that is ever going to obtain the respect it’s due. I am hopeful it will on Substack.
Anyway, before I kvetch any more and this turns into a rant, I’ll end it here. I welcome anyone who would like to visit my community on Substack, which is called Issues That Matter, to do so. They’re also welcome to visit my non-fiction blog, FJY.US. I’d be even happier to receive comments to my posts, and for you to subscribe to any or all of these venues. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, and that’s fine, too. I always welcome respectful and reasoned dissents.
In parting, I’m not going to quote Richard Nixon, and I don’t really care if anyone on Medium has me to kick around any more, or not. I wish all there well, and will offer the hope, as futile as it might be, that Medium eventually comes to its senses. We can hope, anyway, can’t we?
Photo by Jonathan Kemper, Unsplash. Used with permission.