I’ve been screwing around on Medium for nearly a year, and I really don’t understand a damn thing about how traffic works. It seems, when you start, you’re totally unknown — no followers / friends / whatever. I mean, maybe some people have big social media followings or something, so they write on their own, and share it there, and bam, they get thousands of views. As of this comment, you have 369 “claps”, which probably means thousands of views. That’s pretty good, from what I’ve seen. I have maybe two or three, of at least a hundred or so new articles here in the past year, with 1k views. Most linger around 100, and a huge chunk (ones not in publications) actually just sit at 0, or like 4 or some other rather miserable number. So, I understand when people want to try out publications, if only for some exposure.
Personally, I don’t think Medium necessarily promotes writing very well, even to one’s own user base. I mean, I have like 1,000 “followers”. But, if I publish something on my own, it could literally sit there with like 1 or 2 views, which seems pretty shitty percentage-wise. So, I kind of don’t even think followers matter much until maybe you get to some magical plateau / critical mass of like 10,000 or 50,000 or something unimaginably nutty.
In the end, I agree with you. I obviously don’t make any $$$ here. At least for me, with my numbers, I don’t think my publishers are making any $$$ either. Of course, I could also be a totally shitty writer (even if I’ve been professionally employed as one for long periods of my life). So, who knows. But, yeah, at least doing it on your own, you’re in full control. (Although, I would add that, if you DO decide to lock your stories for members only, there are those restrictions on the content that Medium imposes, such as you can’t build lists or promote things, etc. — all that stuff you have to agree to follow before publishing member-only stories.)
lol, all that and I said nothing, really… Good article, though. :-)