How Not to Reach 25,000 Followers and Make Money on Medium

A few days ago a story popped into my feed explaining how to make $500 writing on Medium. Cynicism forced me to see what kind of “advice” was being invented. The sum total was:

  • Follow everyone and hope they follow you back
  • Pay for the author’s Medium course to know the rest

Exactly as I thought, this “story” was a lame marketing attempt. Similar attempts have been all over my feed lately. Each promises to unlock the “secrets” of Medium so you too can make money and be famous like the unknown author sharing their advice. Then, when you start reading, it’s really a ploy for whatever drivel or service the author is trying to sell. So, in reality, the author is making their money off you. Don’t let them.


I’ve been using “social media” since Facebook came to my college in 2004. When I jumped on Twitter in 2008, I decided to be a little judicious in who I followed and who I allowed to follow me. There was really only one rule:

  • Anyone who described themselves a social media “expert” or “guru” or any other lame title immediately got blocked.

In those early days of Twitter everyone was a self-proclaimed expert. But all they were really good at was convincing themselves that they were special. They were trying to build a brand. They didn’t really know any more than anyone else.

We’re seeing the same thing with Medium right now. Self-proclaimed experts are invading the system trying to explain they have “unlocked the secrets” by blogging everyday or gaining massive follower counts. They don’t know any more than you or I do. They just want to con you into giving them money and increase their follower count. They’re digital snake oil salesmen.

I haven’t started judiciously using Medium’s block button, but maybe I should. After awhile Twitter calmed down and the “experts” went away. Maybe the same will happen here. I don’t know.

What I do know is that I am going to keep using Medium as I have since joining in 2014:

  • Reading things I care about
  • Writing stories that crawl around in my head looking for a way out
  • Recommending things I actually enjoy reading
  • Following people who write things I actually want to read

Will this make me money or bring me massive follower counts? Most likely not. And I’m ok with that.


Thanks to jelenawoehr for reminding me of Twitter’s plague of social media “experts” which inspired this story.

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