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My Medium Wishlist — Part 2

Improvements throughout the system


Read part 1 if you haven’t because that covers the biggies, the unnegotiable, necessary changes to this platform.

In this part 2, I’ll share my secondary wishes. Most are still important, the rest is nice-to-have material.

Let’s dive in!


1. Notifications

If you happen to be lucky enough to have garnered quite a large following on Medium, you know exactly what I mean by “notifications”.

The notification system on the website and within the mobile apps is … well, not great, to put it lightly.

You’ve grouped notifications based on “responses” and “all”. That’s a start, but it’s not nearly as fine-grained as it needs to be for writers who get dozens, even hundreds of notifications each day. We need more detail. Mentions for publications owners and editors in a separate tab, for example. I’d also get rid of the “highlighted” notifications. It’s nice if someone highlights parts of your story, but I really don’t need to get notified each time that happens.

Instead, give us more detailed (and consistent) notifications about new subscribers and new referrals. Those do mean a lot.

That ties neatly into my next point.


2. Statistics

I like the story stats, in general. They could be improved, but they’re not bad. What I’d love to see, though, is stats about sources of views and referrals.

By sources, I mean this:

  • where did the new referral member come from, i.e., did he sign up via a link at the bottom of a specific story, via our profile or about pages, or from social media.
  • where did the internal views come from, i.e., did people find our stories through the recommendations on the home feed, through curation, via our profile page, etc.

That’s valuable data. We could focus our efforts to grow our audience and gain referrals on specific pages/sources.


3. Tipping jars

Medium’s new CEO, Tony Stubblebine hinted at this. We might be seeing tipping jars in the future. Many writers I read, put links to Ko-Fi, Patreon, or Buy Me a Coffee at the end of their posts.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have an integrated donation option inside Medium? Vocal does it.


4. Support

This one is a biggie. I didn’t put it on wishlist part 1, though, because I rarely interact with or need support from the Medium team.

However, it seems to have been a frustrating experience for those who do. No responses at all or long waits, insufficient answers.

That could be improved, although I have to say that most info (basic and specific) can be found on the Medium help pages. It’s worth diving deeper into these.


5. Custom domains

I recently learned that Medium removed the ability to connect a custom domain to your account.

I don’t know the reasoning behind this, but I loved the idea of connecting my own domain to my Medium profile in the future. I’ve always kept that in the back of my head.

Why did you remove that, Medium?


6. Customization

I am a fan of Medium’s new design, in general. If you don’t know a few months ago, Medium completely overhauled the appearance of the website, both the frontend and parts of the backend.

Writers were outraged. I don’t mind it.

What this new design does lack, however, is customization options for our profiles and especially publications. I think this was handled better with the old design.

Now, it’s more streamlined (and probably more consistent, i.e., easier to navigate), but it does take away individuality and personality to a degree.

Maybe there’d be a compromise?


7. Audio integration

Medium added audio to our stories. Basic AI-generated audio narration, this is. I love listening to stories. Sure, the voices aren’t perfect, pronunciation can be tough, and named entities cause problems. It’s hard to get this right. I know, I’m a computational linguist. I’ve worked in this field for a long time.

What Medium could add, though, is podcast-like functionality. Substack does this. You can upload your own recording or record directly on the website.

It’s a cool thing.

I don’t know how many writers would use this, but I’ve read this suggestion a few times, most recently in a story by Geoffrey Gevalt.

I’d love to listen to self-recorded versions of Medium articles. First of all, that’s faster than reading (generally speaking), secondly, it connects us with the writer’s voices and connotations, and lastly, you can do that while doing something else. I can’t read a story while browsing the web for something. But I can listen in the background while doing that.


The bottom line

To make something clear, this is not hating on Medium. I’ve said many times before that Medium is my favorite writing platform on the internet. It’s the greatest place to blog and earn with words.

That doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Obviously. And I do think Medium like to listen to constructive criticism and feature suggestions. Why wouldn’t they? Some ideas might be cool, right?

On that note, let’s finish this second part of my wishlist for Tony Stubblebine, Medium’s new CEO. You got this, Tony!

Read part 1 here if you haven’t.

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