How I Became Addicted To Medium Stats

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Everyone who writes on Medium is concerned by his own views statistics, but compulsively looking at them will not change their numbers.

Here is the story of my obsession

The story so far

I discovered Medium a couple of years ago. It was a rich source of useful information for my articles and stories, and I begun reading something on it almost everyday. Soon afterwards I jumped over the bar and started writing my contents too.

I wrote a few articles about my thoughts about the books I read, and made them freely available, sharing them on my Facebook profile; they are written in Italian and nobody among my contacts would ever paid for reading them. Moreover, Italian-reading audience on Medium is almost non-existent so there were no hope of being viewed behind the paywall.

As days passed, I saw the free contents on Medium becoming fewer and fewer so, not willing to pay for the membership, I almost forgot about the platform.

Then my life changed: last year i lost my job and decided to pursuit my real aspiration: becoming a full time science communicator.

I started a YouTube channel about practical science, I opened a blog, an Instagram profile and so on.

Then I remembered Medium.

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And here we are

As an Italian native speaker, the most straightforward choice was targeting Italian audience, so all the contents on my channels are in my native language. At the same time I knew that if I wanted to go where the big audience is, I had to switch to English, but there were few complications.

  1. The experiments in my videos are done together with my six years old son, who obviously is not fluent in English.
  2. I have a small community of online and real life friends, that can help me in gaining followers, but most part of them are Italian speakers.

So Medium was the most logical option to reach people who don’t even know I exist (yet).
That’s why I started to write again.
In English.
Behind the Medium paywall.

As almost every writer on Medium I expected my stories would have reached hundreds of readers in a while, getting tons of views and claps, and making me earn a decent amount of money.

Obviously, nothing of that happened.

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I love when a plan comes together

I had, and still have a plan: writing a collection of stories about the size of our universe, discussing things like how big is the Solar System, how long the history of earth, how many molecules there are in a glass of water, comparing them to our everyday experience, in order to better grasp the numbers (take a look at my stories, if you like).

I had even chosen a fancy name for it: The Scale Factor.

So far, I published three stories: one was selected by Medium for further distribution and all were accepted by a publication that I love: EveryDay Science.

I was happy, I was confident, I was thinking I made it. I was wrong.

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Sad but True

My first look at Medium viewing stats was the day after publishing the first story and was a really depressing one: 0 views.

Ok, I thought, nobody knows me, I could not expect thousands of views on the first day, let the story circulates and the readers will come.

I did not bother to share my story on Facebook, none of my friends is a Medium member and certainly they will not pay for reading my stuff, but I shared it on LinkedIn where I have a more international and potentially interested network. But the views did not grow.

I was a little luckier with my second story: being chosen for further distribution granted me 36 views in one week and the spectacular amount of $0.30.

Counting all the stories, in about one month on Medium I got 100 views making the incredible sum of $0.36, yes thirty-six dollar cents.

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And then I became an addicted

When the first view appeared on the graph, I begun looking at the stats page on my profile more and more often. Opening Medium and checking the stats replaced the bored look on Facebook from the smartphone when I have nothing to do; the stats are the first thing I look when I open the Medium app, If read something interesting on Medium, immediately afterwards I look also at my stats, the same when I write a comment o answer to one.

Looking at the stats is my everyday dopamine source, is like a cigarette after coffee or a small block of chocolate when you finish lunch. I cannot stay more than one hour without looking at the stats, thinking of the data, trying to extrapolate some trend or indication.

But it doesn’t matter how often I open the page, my audience won’t grow accordingly to how many times I look at the stats.

The moral of the story is…

Even if I cannot help looking at them, the stats are not the important thing. What is important is I write because I feel pleasure on it, and because I think I have something to say. And if someone reads it, and claps too, it was worth doing (but if that someone will become hundreds of someone I will be happier).

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Diego Tonini

Diego Tonini

Writer and science communication enthusiast, I think science can be fun and everyone can understand it!