avatarCindy Steinberg (she/her)


Writers of the World, Unite! Friends of Medium Has Brought Classism to the Platform

The growing inequity between Medium’s two classes

Image Source: Getty Images, via the Telegraph

Everyone is talking about becoming a Friend of Medium these days, it’s in my feed daily now. Many of them are touting the supposed “2x-4x” revenue increase since upgrading to FoM. As The Smoke Shop Alchemist says in a piece he penned yesterday:

“Having that gold heart lets other writers know they’ll earn 4 times more from your eyeballs. So a lot of them start following you not because they value your writing, but because they want you to follow them back and read their stories.”

As Bin Jiang says in his story, “Why Friend of Medium is Currently Undervalued (Earn 2X+, Cost 3X, Give 4X),”: “What we read is “Writers earn 4X when you read their stories”. This actually creates a loop of chain reaction which member will prioritize engagement with Friend before Member because on the back of their mind the 4X earning for writers is irresistible.”

Mr. Plan ₿ writes: “Well and we come to the earnings for the month of December which I can say that even I was amazed to get 321.1$ compared to November 100.54$ which means that this month I increased my income by 3x.” He prefaces this statement by sharing that he wrote fewer stories (20, down from 35) in December than November, yet still managed to earn 3 times more revenue.

These are just a few examples I happened to come across while scrolling Medium yesterday. Whether these writers are right about the increase or not remains to be seen, as I don’t have access to the data to corroborate or debunk this rumor.

A Tale of Two Memberships

But what we do know for certain is that Medium has created a two-tiered society among their users. This separation of the haves from the have-nots is the basis of the oppressive capitalist system we currently live in every day. A structured hierarchy of classes, the Proletariat and the Bourgeoisie.

One can easily see how this will disproportionately affect writers from BIPOC backgrounds, already struggling to afford rent and other bills. Then there is the effect it will have on writers in developing countries, where $5/month is already too much for many of them to afford.

Their voices will be lost as writers overlook them to follow FoM accounts in hopes of getting their attention and earning more from their reads. The second class citizens, the word serfs of sorts, won’t elicit as much engagement, as everyone flocks to the comments of FoM stories in hopes of currying their favor.

As usual, the majority of revenue will flow to the creators with the largest market share. In other words, big accounts with thousands of followers gained in a short amount of time from being a FoM. It won’t even matter if their writing is any good, so long as they keep pumping out content while wearing their fancy gold heart.

It should come as no surprise though. Medium will always serve the interests of its investors before those of the readers and writers who produce the revenue they depend on.

The publishing industry at large has been subverted by the Bourgeoisie for decades, the only difference on here is that we now have Petit Bourgeoisie in the form of Friends of Medium.

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