Are We Containing the Wildfire of Empty Clickbait?

Can Medium stay above the scourge?

Douglas Giles, PhD

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(Burning warehouse building, Wivenhoe, UK, 2015. It’s a metaphor.)

I like Medium; I like it a lot. My regular readers can easily guess why: the platform encourages the meaningful content that I crave.

Writers are the heart and soul of Medium, and they are understandably concerned about recent changes to Medium’s calculation in compensation for writers. The changes don’t directly affect readers, but if Medium succeeds in their goal, the changes will increase the quality of writing and make for a better reader experience because it is actively containing the scourge that is burning down the rest of the Internet.

The Scourge

The Internet could have been great. It still could be, but it remains stained and scarred by the less admirable aspects of human nature. People can go anywhere, learn anything, talk to anyone on the Internet, but prefer to stay within the echo chambers of online silos. Plus, people are lazy consumers, if not lazy thinkers, who mostly want to scroll through mindless nonsense. Consider any social media site and the “creators” there are mostly posting crap to cater to the echo chambers and short-attention spans of consumers.

Medium’s long-form text format dissuades postings of empty memes, the scourge of the Memeocene, In that aspect alone, Medium is superior to all of the social media sites out there.

Interestingly, Medium also has managed to remain higher quality than other long-form Web sites. That includes most so-called news sites that produce clickbait and vapid content rather than news or substantive information. Medium has seemed to have consistently downplayed such pabulum as celebrity gossip, true crime stories, and moneymaking scams.

A few years ago Medium went through a spate of Mr. Crush-It productivity “experts” and sellers of “life hacks.” Medium didn’t feed that beast and it seems to have died down. Similarly, Medium openly discouraged the spate of “how to get rich writing on Medium” stories some writers posted to try to get rich writing on Medium.

There remain too many shell accounts on Medium, trying to cash in on click bait headlines. I’m tempted to call out these accounts, but I suspect, dear readers, that you know some of the…

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Douglas Giles, PhD

Philosopher by trade & temperament, professor for 21 years, bringing philosophy out of its ivory tower and into everyday life. https://linktr.ee/dgilesphd