So many people on Medium – and elsewhere – have been on about the supposed impending demise of writing as a whole and Medium specifically. And over the course of my time writing and earning on Medium, I’ve read so so many articles from people saying that it’s all but pointless to even try to start making money by writing – especially on Medium since the site is supposedly doomed.
Recently I read a story on Medium claiming that “writing is dying” and that the author doesn’t “think there’s much hope.”
Really now. Let’s get some perspective.
Methinks the rumors of Medium’s death have been greatly exaggerated.
No, Medium isn’t dying.
Let’s just get this out of the way right here: No, Medium isn’t dying. Some writers have been claiming for a while now that “views are down” and that “earnings are down.” Yet, my experience has been exactly the opposite.
Sure, some months are better than others, and some articles do better than others, but since when is that anything new or revolutionary?
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I think Medium is doing great. Speaking personally, my earnings and views are at an all time high, and I know that with the recently-introduced “boost” feature, that’s true for some others as well.
The fact that this isn’t true for everyone doesn’t mean the platform is dying. It means that some people may be relying on things that used to work but don’t anymore.
Learn what works. Don’t blame the platform.
Here’s the harsh reality: not everything works well on Medium. Some topics, tactics and material simply don’t float as well in this ocean. That’s not abnormal, and it shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. When you create content, you need to be able to tailor that content to your audience and the platform. Certain things work better on a blog than on Medium, and some things are perfect for Medium that would wouldn’t do as well on a blog, for example.
And, without a doubt, other writing platforms are a better fit for certain types of content. Hopefully that doesn’t come as too much of a revelation, but I fear that it does for some – as is evident by the multitudes of people claiming that the site is dying.
May I offer an alternative interpretation? It’s not that the site is dying. It’s that you’re simply not doing what’s working for the platform.
See, it’s way easier to blame the platform when you aren’t getting views or follows or subscribers than it is to reevaluate your own content strategy and rethink what may or may not actually be working well.
Many of us – myself included at times on some platforms – are more prone to do the first thing and completely ignore the second. It’s far easier to place the blame on someone or something else than it is to consider whether we’re actually doing what works. Right?
That applies on Medium, YouTube, your blog… anywhere truly.
But what about AI writing? Won’t that kill off Medium?
Some have claimed that AI writing will lead to the demise of platforms like Medium – and even writing as a whole. After all, why pay humans to write when a computer could do it, right?
The problem with the question lies in the assumption that an AI’s “writing” is truly a replacement for what a human could produce. Now sure, could an AI be used to generate blocks of text that’s pretty convincingly human? Sure. It can be a great asset for marketing campaigns and people who need to generate copy quickly (though I can’t endorse ever allowing AI to write entirely on your behalf).
But as I have written previously, there is simply no way that AI writing can replace human writing in every sphere. Can it take on the menial, repetitive writing tasks that many writers would love to do without? Absolutely. But, no, it cannot replace a human writer’s perspective, thought process and emotional value.
At the end of the day, people would rather hear and learn from another human being, not cold circuits. While an AI might be able to spit out content that presents (mostly) factual information in a prose format, it can never replace the value of hearing the thoughts and opinions of another human being.
Just as an example: if I’m looking for a new phone, do I care what a computer thinks of the various options? Do I care if an AI thinks the new Samsung phone is aesthetically pleasing or if the latest iPhone has a good camera? No. I care what another human being thinks. I want to know what he or she has to say about the subject. And of course I might disagree with some of his conclusions or I might agree. But the point is I’m learning from a person – not an AI model.
Now, how should Medium handle AI-written content? Medium has been considering that internally already, and many publications are outright banning the submission of AI generated content, which is music to my ears frankly.
In January of 2023, Scott Lamb – VP of content at Medium – wrote a piece describing Medium’s approach to AI-generated content. In that piece, he stated that Medium “prizes human knowledge and experience.”
It’s no secret that someone could use an AI writer – like ChatGPT – to spit out a decent sized article and upload it to Medium, and no doubt that happens regularly. But Medium isn’t unaware of this. Publications aren’t blindsided. They know that’s a possibility and that’s why policies are being put into place, and it will be interesting to see how Medium handles AI content as a whole in the coming years.
Don’t believe the doomsday squad.
Look, over the past several years, many people have jumped on the “AI will take all of our jobs and make humans obsolete” bandwagon.
No. No it won’t.
AI will – and already has begun to – make certain menial tasks less in demand and enable individuals to do more than ever thought possible up to this point. Writers, for example, have SO many awesome tools available to them that we didn’t have even a few years ago.
These tools won’t make writing obsolete any more than the microwave made chefs obsolete.
What will happen though is this: those who learn to work with and alongside artificial intelligence and AI-powered tools will thrive. Those who refuse to risk being left behind.
At this point, AI is a non-negotiable fact of our digital existence. You can’t escape it. You can deny its existence all you want, but that won’t make it go away. You can stare at it, stuck in the middle of the road like a deer in the headlights – or you can learn to embrace it, work with it and use it to grow your own influence and business in a previously-impossible way.
Personally, I’m excited for the AI-powered future. I’m loving using Notion with it’s built-in AI features now, and I’ve enjoyed using AI to help me brainstorm content for various platforms. It would be foolish, in my opinion, to not make use of the many resources we now have.
What will you choose to do? That’s a choice each of us must make for ourselves.