Medium is Playing Hide & Seek With Your Favorite Writers — How to Find Them Again
Navigating update shenanigans
You may have noticed the row of writerly faces which helpfully indicated who has new stories has disappeared from Medium. When a friend mentioned that it was flickering in and out yesterday, I suddenly had a haunting premonition. After all, we’d seen this before and the outcome wasn’t pleasant.
You may recall that the app also had such a row, once, which briefly flashed like a neon sign before going dark forever. This was some months ago. As someone who does most their Mediuming via the app, I was annoyed but mollified as the web site still had the row and could be used as a workaround. But now that has been taken away too.
When considering these updates, one must assume Medium is doing them for reasons that are eminently rational to them. They aren’t trying to drive people away — that would be counter-intuitive and also a strange way to run a business. The only logical explanation is that they want to elevate the algorithm such that we have no choice but to take succor from its teat. But as someone who has strong opinions about who I follow and what I read, This Is A Problem.
Fortunately, there are yet a couple of ways that we can get around this. These are workarounds and not as good as the real thing, but they’ll get the job done.
Use the blogroll, Luke
Medium rolled out the blogroll functionality maybe last year? I don’t remember exactly — time is funny anymore. I enabled it whenever it was and then never really looked at it again. But given this update, I’m giving the blogroll sudden and intense interest bordering on creepy.
The blogroll displays the people you follow, sorted by most recently published. Thus, it is the easiest way to get this type of usability back. The blogroll lives on your profile; mine can be seen at https://ewpierce.medium.com. The caveat: this can only be seen on an actual computer. Putting your phone’s browser into desktop mode doesn’t allow you to see the blogroll, alas.
You can enable the blogroll via Settings → Design your profile
Consider subscribing to your favorite writers
For me, this is the nuclear option as I get way too much email as it is. But I am reviewing who I follow and may decide to get notified via email for my favorite writers. It’s the least cumbersome method at least, though the writer needs to check the ‘deliver this goodness to my peoples’ box before they publish, so it’s not 100% Medium-proof.
Here’s my subscription thingy, if you are inclined:
Unfortunately, this is the name of the game
I mentioned above that I am an app-first guy. This has been my reading process since they borked the app:
- navigate to Medium.com via app browser or laptop
- check for new stories from writers I follow
- bookmark stories that look interesting
- read said stories later via the app
It is annoying but workable. Seems like a good summary for Medium these days.