Original article was published by Dena@Write-Solutions on Artificial Intelligence on Medium
I know that writers on Medium are having difficulty adjusting to yet another round of changes on the platform. I don’t appreciate how curation and tags were removed from the stats page, as it makes it more difficult to track what articles do well in what categories. That said, my most significant frustration comes from the new difficulty in reading on Medium.
I know an algorithm determines what shows up on my feed, but it doesn’t know me AT ALL. My favorite writers are missing. The pubs I spend the most time reading from are no longer available on my home page. If it is difficult for me, after more than a year on Medium, how is it affecting those new to the platform?
What new members are saying
I have two friends who recently joined Medium. One is an aspiring blogger; the other is a reader looking for great content. Both have complained about the strange way the platform is organized.
It is hard to search by topic, and if you do, you are likely to see articles that are several years old. That is especially frustrating if you are looking for time-sensitive information.
Their feeds are filled with most of the stories written by the few authors they have followed so far. How are they supposed to discover what authors and pubs to follow, if they are only shown a few random pieces here and there?
Confusion about Medium’s goals
Medium’s explanation for the new changes is vague, ambiguous, and difficult to understand. I know they are always tweaking things behind the scenes. In just the year I have been writing on Medium, I have seen several significant changes in how the platform works. I may not have even liked some of the changes, but at least I could understand what they were hoping to accomplish.
This time, I am at a loss to try and understand. Maybe I read differently than most people? Though I have my favorite pubs and authors, I am mostly interested in reading about specific topics I find engaging. Topics have always been hard to navigate, but the previous algorithm did a decent job of choosing headlines that were of interest.
Today, I scrolled completely through the home page and didn’t find one article I was interested in reading. I didn’t see a single story from a favorite pub, nor the names of any of my favorite writers. The writers have published new content, but now, I have to search their names and go to their page to read what they have written.
Medium’s success relies on both great content and readers that engage with the content
Admittedly, the changes are all new, and we will probably adjust. I hate that the site now seems so clunky and difficult to use. In theory, an AI-driven algorithm has analyzed my reading habits and is spitting out the content deemed most likely to tempt me to engage by reading. Unfortunately, if my tastes are any indication, the algorithm has some serious flaws.
I genuinely want Medium to continue to do well, and I hope the changes provide value to some writers and readers. There will always be those who fall through the cracks, and maybe it is just my turn. I can’t help but feel disappointed, though, because a scroll through Medium and my first cup of coffee are how I usually start my day.
Leaving without finding a single headline I wanted to read was a little sad. Do I need to unfollow writers that I have enjoyed in the past, to narrow my field so that I am more likely to see the content I want? I only follow publications I like, yet not one of those showed up on my feed.
As I have done in the past, I will continue to remain loyal to Medium and hope that the changes work themselves out. The writers are the most essential asset Medium has — I do wonder if they have forgotten that?