Update: I’m Joining Medium’s Partner Program

An update and an explanation, as well as my policy on metering posts.

A couple weeks ago I published a blog post called “Selfishly Writing” which flew under the radar. It was about how I write primarily for myself, and that I loathe the idea of my writing being beholden to others, since it’s a hobby that’s uniquely mine. At this particular point in my life, I don’t want to have to try super hard to meet deadlines or be nitpicked by editors etc., even if it would probably make my writing better — I get enough of that sort of thing at my day job! This is also why I like blogging, because blogs are by nature less edited and less perfect snippets of content.

But even though I titled the post “Selfishly Writing”, in some ways I felt I wasn’t being selfish enough. In spite of my wish to write for only myself, some of my writing seems to morph into its own beast when released out into the world, dissected and interpreted to no end. To be frank, I am tired of bearing the weight (and harassment) from that with little reward (although, to be clear, I will never ever make the articles on you-know-who “metered”; I want to make that clear from the jump). Though I say I “selfishly” write for myself, someone profits off of my writing when members pay fees but I don’t have to receive a payout when they read my work. I’m just currently not part of this profit chain, but I have the option to be (and Medium has provided this option all along, I simply chose not to take it). Finally, now if trolls want to come after me they’ll at least have to pay for it under certain posts 😎

To turn to a positive side of this, it’s also become clear that there’s several people who read my writing regularly and wish to support me through their highlights/claps/actions, but because I am not in this program, I can’t receive that support financially (however the warm fuzzies I receive are honestly probably worth more than the $1.50 per month I may receive in the future, so thank you if you are such a reader ❤).

In addition, I discovered that Medium has been “distributing” a lot more of my posts than I realized, especially after it became less obvious when articles were distributed (they used to notify you, now you have to go into your stats and check). This includes the post “political nihilism”, which surprised me because it was one of my angsty journal-type entries rather than a primer on the robotics industry or something. I don’t know if these are distribution algorithms or people, but I am sure that someone working at this big blog company HQ knows who I am, partly because I accidentally made a big software newsy splash, and also because through that event I brought a lot of eyeballs to their platform. Though of course I don’t see myself as deeply attached to this platform nor supportive of everything it does, I have to admit they do a damn good job at making it easy for me to write and I don’t see myself leaving any time soon. So I decided I wanted to experiment with the partner program.

I have never done this before so I’m still getting the hang of it, but here’s my general idea of how this is going to go down, and some of my rationale.

Posts that will not be metered:

  • Most articles about African Music and music in general
  • Certain social justice articles, when they are published around the same time as a specific current event (e.g. 17 ASIAN BUSINESSES TO SUPPORT). After initial posting, some of them may become metered later on.
  • Articles that target high school students, such as career/college advice (e.g. “What a Robotics Career Looks Like”)
  • And this post right here, of course, so everyone can understand my personal policy.

Posts that will probably be metered:

  • Articles about hardware, robots, tech, etc. (e.g. Robots, Explained)
  • Certain articles about broader social justice topics — in this way I feel I do not “take advantage” of the initial interest in a specific current event. My goal when writing around specific current events is to raise awareness and educate, but if you want even more education, it seems reasonable for me to ask for your support.
  • Some of my “journal entry” reflection types of articles. If you would like a voyeuristic look into my specific life, I would like to ask for your support!

Who knows how long I’ll try this program out? I don’t know. I might decide I don’t like it/it’s not worth it/etc. and let it go. But I want to try, in a very controlled, low-effort, baby-steps sort of way, to see if anyone wants to pay me for my art, even if it’s on the order of $1.50 a month.

I welcome your feedback; I will genuinely listen if you think there’s a good reason I shouldn’t meter some kinds of posts or to other opinions you might have as one of my readers (assuming you are contacting me in good faith of course).

And if you message me on any platform wanting to read a metered article of mine but unable to afford Medium’s subscription, I would be more than happy to send you a “friend link”.

I haven’t thought through everything of course, like how to do different sorts of content warning or disclosures etc., but I’ll keep this post up-to-date with my policies on the partner program and metering posts as I learn its features and make changes. It’s also possible the program itself will undergo changes, and I will update this accordingly.

Member or not, thank you to every person who has ever read my writing! I am deeply appreciative of the fact that anyone at all wants to look at my long-winded reflections of inconsistent quality. Some people have followed me across three different platforms — Tumblr, the MIT Admissions Blogs, and Medium. I look forward to writing for the rest of my life, and I hope you look forward to reading.

— Selam G.

twitter: @selamjie
blog email: askselamie@mit.edu

Last Updated April 6th, 2021 11:19AM EST

MIT grad, robotics engineer, mixed. A place I write.

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