While this makes sense it would make more sense if Medium existed in a vacuum, and there were no other platforms out there competing for our content and offering us an audience.

But there are.

True, Medium has much better content creation tools than, say, LinkedIn or any off-the-shelf Wordpress- or Drupal-powered platform. But I’m willing to bet that most authors are prepared to put up with a second-class authoring tool in return for a shot at a first-class audience.

most authors are prepared to put up with a second-class authoring tool in return for a shot at a first-class audience.

Most won’t make the massive investment in network building — creating Medium’s network value for both ourselves and for Medium — when the same effort would produce greater results for our content somewhere else.

This is, of course, a self-fulfilling prophecy, born of simple network and game theory. Knowing other authors will make the same calculation, all conclude that Medium’s network effect will not grow, and hence not make their contribution to it, thus ensuring it won’t. Without something special, Medium risks remaining a secondary destination, a place to republish your content in the hope of something happening, and to enjoy seeing one’s work published using a state-of-the-art CMS (just compare this with that).

I hope I’m wrong, of course. A thriving Medium would be fabulous.

Written by

Piloting innovative online communications since 1995. Editor: medium.com/Knowledge4Policy. Founder: MyHub.ai. Personal Hub: https://myhub.ai/@mathewlowry/

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