It’s a good idea for aspiring and budding writers to seek online platforms in which to flex your creative muscles – and earn.
If you plan on joining Medium, hey, that’s better. You can hone your writing skills and meet a community of writers that are warm and supportive.
I’m on Medium so I do know whereof I speak.
So let me share my personal experience, not with Medium itself, but about what to expect from some members of Medium groups on Facebook.
This story is originally published here.
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This People-Pleaser is Pissed Off
A mild rant towards spammers and fake readers
and the clap-and-run brigade lurking among Medium groups on Facebook
I AM proud to be born under the star sign of Libra. Yes, the seventh astrological sign which is represented by the scales.
Librans, aside from other charming (ahem J) characteristics, are described by astrologers to be extremely diplomatic and fair. Being on the extreme end, Librans are sometimes suspected to be people pleasers – just because we endeavour for fairness.
With fair being the operative word here, I went all out with this attitude as soon as I signed up on Medium. The same when I joined Facebook groups whose members consist of Medium writers, I practised fairness as was my wont.
I’m a Libran, remember?
By being fair, I read – and read thoroughly – the group’s rules and what is expected of every member. For at least a week, I read previous posts and conversation threads, if any. It’s only fair to the group to not bombard them with posts that run counter to the group’s rules.
If the query was about Medium policies, that could be overlooked.
But then again, a simple search on the Internet would yield the answer to the question. One just needs to read a lot.
But perhaps I am not being fair to those who could not be bothered doing a little research, or doing a lot of reading for self-learning?
A community of talented writers
My initial impression upon reading the first double-digit number of stories on the platform was one of awe. There are many, many talented writers on Medium. The insights and wisdom within the stories they share are like pearls gifted to the readers.
Paying subscribers who are on the platform to read only are surely getting their money’s worth.
But what about writers on Facebook groups that engage in posting links to their stories for read-for-read arrangements?
A clear majority is a delight to deal with. They are warm, supportive, and fair. I enjoy reading their work – I learn a lot from them – and some have become my friends. I may run out of superlatives if I attempt to describe them.
As part of my being fair, I put a brake on my speed-reading. I made sure to give the article a proper read so the read time on my colleague’s work will be 100%.
When articles that are three or four times longer in read-time than mine are dropped, I did not whine. I specified reciprocity in the Facebook thread that I started, so I need to be fair. I did not bat an eyelash even when it occurred to me what a people-pleaser I was becoming.
In similar vein, when articles (or poems) that have very short read-time compared to my story are dropped on my Facebook post, I make it a point to read the other pieces by the writer. Fair is fair.
Think of the scales representing Libra. I need balance in my dealings and relationships.
And then came the spammers and the fake readers
On Facebook’s Medium groups, a usual practice is for a member to start a thread for reciprocal reads by posting a link to his/her story. Fine and fair. This is a good way to support each other.
Most members observe this pact between thread starter and commenter (or those who drop the link to their story).
This was how I recognized the writers who are authentic in their engagements.
This was also where I noted the writers whose work and behaviour are respected by the community, one of them being Krishh.
But the so-called spammers and fake readers surfaced on Medium groups on Facebook.
In the few months that I was a member, I only detected a handful. Perhaps a maximum of five.
But no longer are these spammers and fake readers just a handful. They appear to be more than that.
They are referred to as such because –
(1) they spam almost every post of writers seeking reciprocal reads, and –
(2) they do not engage at all with the thread starter’s story.
So, what should we, advocates of genuine reciprocity and fairness, do?
Many suggestions are flying fast and furious among the members and the newbies on various Medium groups on Facebook, some of which are as follows:
- Block the scammers and fake readers
- Report them to the group’s Admin
- Hide the comments (containing the links to stories)
- Ignore them
- Give them a virtual slap
With extreme diplomacy and fairness
Exercising my Libran fame for extreme tact and fairness, I dealt with spammers and fake readers by being kind and diplomatic.
First stage of my being a people-pleaser:
- I gave their articles (even if my brain sometimes bled deciphering their nonsense) a full read
- I dropped claps
- I left a response when warranted, but never telling them about my brain-bleed
- Then I got back to them on Facebook, asking them to also engage with my story
- Response: nil
Second stage of my trying to please and be fair:
- I asked them very politely to engage first with my story
- Stressed that only then will I reciprocate
- Response: nil
Third stage of trying to bleed a turnip:
- Reported them to the group’s admin
- Hid their comments / link to their stories
- Blocked them
- (I have used up all my reserves of patience.)
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Being fair is nice.
But I guess there comes a time when one has to admit that pleasing people and playing fair with unthinking bots is a losing proposition.
So I’ll give my mental health a respite. I’m giving up trying to be fair to those who do not play fair.
#End of Rant#
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Below are some of the links to Medium groups on Facebook that you may want to join after you have joined Medium:
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Thank you for reading!
I’d like to connect with you 🙂