Is The Friend of Medium, Financially and Socially Darwinian?

Adebayo Adeniran
2 min readDec 5, 2023

Just asking

Image by Annie Spratt via Unsplash

Medium, in its 11 years of existence has reinvented itself more times than the Queen of pop —Madonna.

Its countless reinventions has seen it go from a place where people were drawn to writing brilliant and original pieces to a space where money was the only motivating factor.

In that period, we met lots of phenomenal scribes who turned our lives upside down and we also met those who had nothing original to offer to the millions of readers.

And no sooner had the money dried up than these fair weather folks disappeared, taking with them, the very long email lists, which Ev Williams and the Medium Staff had ingeniously put together for them.

And no, I am not having a dig at the apocalyptic specialists.

But it is in the spirit of reinvention that the announcement was made a few days ago that there will be a new category of Medium readers known as the friend of Medium.

The main advantage of the friend of Medium is that those whom you read will earn four times as much as they would do, if you’re on the regular package.

Having read and reread the article from Alex Benzer, I am very tempted to jump ship and upgrade my membership package.

Upgrading my package means that writers, whom I read on a regular basis such as Dwayne Wong (Omowale),William Spivey, Allison Wiltz, Walter Rhein, Argumentative Penguin, Michelle Teheux, TB Obwoge, George Blue Kelly and John Egelkrout will earn four times as much as they do now.

Now, if that isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime incentive to elevate my amazing colleagues, who consistently generate great content, then I don’t know what it is.

But we must ask, isn’t this brilliant idea, socially and financially darwinian? Wouldn’t it mean that lots of writers will get left behind?

My short answer is yes.

I think that less established writers will be left behind and the percentage of those who earn a hundred dollars monthly will fall precipitously. The barriers to entry will become impossibly high.

The laws of the jungle will apply to our beloved platform and that will inevitably create a situation in which new players will be unable to compete with the veterans, however good their work is.

But it doesn’t have to be that way, if we all adopted the same approach.

My hope is that the new initiative will generate enough takers among those who are truly devoted to Medium to ensure that we get back to making the numbers that we were, before the algorithm was weaponized against us.

It would be nice to see the established players collaborate to ensure that we all get remunerated properly.

This is my take on the new scheme, what’s yours?

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Adebayo Adeniran

A lifelong bibliophile, who seeks to unleash his energy on as many subjects as possible