The Real Reason Some of Us Read and Write on Medium
Who cares? You are moving out. Great for you. But why do you think anonymous readers would care?
I was greeted with those charming, heartwarming words by a stranger on Medium a few days ago.
It’s hard to interpret her exact meaning without hearing her tone.
At best, she’s being literal and matter-of-fact. At worst, snarky and mean-spirited.
She was writing in response to this recent story of mine:
What she doesn’t know…
indeed, what no one on Medium knows (with the exception of Jonathan Greene who was aware of the backstory and graciously published this announcement for me)…
is that this story was only written with a very limited audience in mind: my closest friends, extended family, and handful of Medium friends that I have made over the past 18 months.
Unlike Facebook, Medium doesn’t really have a way for me to share something specific with a select group of Medium friends.
Ultimately, I opted to write a full story with the intention of sharing this big update with the aforementioned group of folks.
In fact, originally I was going to self-publish it, but at the last minute I asked Jonathan if he minded publishing it via Redoubtable. He agreed, so the story was published under the Redoubtable banner.
But then something unexpected happened!
My random, somewhat rambling story got picked up by the Medium curators!
I had zero expectation that this story would get noticed by the curators. I cannot accurately convey my shock. I NEVER foresaw that this very personal story about my and my son’s pending move would be read by anyone outside of my immediate circle.
Once the story got picked up by the curators, it got featured under the “self” and “family” tags plus it was sent to a variety of folks (including many people who had never read anything by me).
And something magical happened:
Complete strangers liked my story! Some strangers even took the time to write me words of encouragement!
I had assumed that my closest Medium pals would see the story, get updated on my big move, and I’d get a few claps from my “community.”
It never occurred to me that it would receive almost 2 THOUSAND claps! And that not only my closest Medium friends would acknowledge my move, but other followers and total strangers would!
Amusingly more strangers have liked this story than my intended audience: my friends in real life.
I was so touched by all the claps and kind messages that I had a realization…
that I have found a real community here in Mediumland.
My big move feels less daunting. Regardless of where I live physically, I can take my newfound Medium friends and followers and my writing with me.
The response to this story was an unexpected joy because it’s the first time that it REALLY hit me that I don’t feel as lonely and overwhelmed by my move.
Being able to share my writing, being able to support my friends, and discovering new voices helps me feel connected. I feel less isolated and lonely.
The reality is that I don’t know anyone where we will be living. It’s a lovely little pocket, but it’s very small. This is a big adjustment for me and my son.
I have fears, but I’m grateful to be able to bring Medium with me!
My Medium community may still be fairly small. My following is growing but not large compared to many others.
But the response to this particular story hit my heart.
People care! My friends. My followers. And even strangers!
You took time out of your busy lives to read a silly snippet about my random life. Whether you read my story, gave me claps, and/or took the time to write a response, you cared!
If the original comment I shared at the top of this story was supposed to be hurtful, it backfired. I’m so glad that she wrote what she did regardless of her intent.
It’s irrelevant whether she cares. Or thinks I have delusions of grandeur for putting my story out there.
What matters is that there are people out there who do care!
And you know what else?
I care about my friend Vanessa Torre and her latest disappointment.
I care about my friend Jonathan Greene. I missed him when he was taking a break from Medium. I like Medium more when he’s here.
I care about the work that Jeff Barton has done to improve his life.
I care about Shani Silver and her tacky neighbors.
I care about Niki Marinis and her love life and career.
I care about Jessica Wildfire and I’m glad she finally got tenure.
I care about Shannon Ashley and am rooting for her improved health.
I care about pretty much all aspects of Heath ዟ’s life. He’s my life guru.
I care about my longest followers, my brand new ones, and everybody in between.
I could go on and on.
It’s okay if some (or many) don’t care about me. I’m just a stranger to 99% of the Medium population.
But some of you DO care!
Honestly, this whole venture is rather miraculous.
The fact that we find each other at all when there are so many voices.
We share, connect, entertain, and enlighten in big ways and small ones.
Maybe the real secret to Medium isn’t writing or reading.
Maybe it’s caring.
About words? Yes.
About ideas? Sometimes.
About money? Sure.
But for the really lucky, maybe it boils down to caring about other people.
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Thank you for reading this story
I know you are busy and have lots of ways you could be spending your time. You using your time to read my work means the world to me — my sincerest thanks!