A year of Medium membership and the Partner Programme — has it been worth it?

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I had an email this week reminding me that my first year of Medium membrship was coming to an end, which prompted me to look back at some of my stats for the year. When I took out the membership, I did it with the intention that I was going to be posting more stuff on here through the Partner Programme and my income from that would cover the cost of membership.

Now, I know the two things aren’t connected and you can continue to write and publish here without signing up as a member, but I chose membership for two reasons. First, that there was enough on here that I wanted to read that it made sense to remove the paywall and second, if I was going to look to be part of this then it was only fair that I was doing my bit to contribute to those whose posts I was reading. For me, this is a little bit of fun on the side and a way to work out some of my thinking on issues, but for others it is how they’re making a living and so I could make a small contribution to that wider economy.

How’s it worked? Well, over the year I’ve made enough from readers (thank you all) to cover the amount I paid out for membership and have a little bit more on top of that. To be clear that’s a little bit more in the sense of paying for a takeaway or two, not covering my rent or putting a down payment on my first Ferrari. Given that my writing for the last year has been sporadic at best, that’s not too bad, and possibly motivation to write and publish more.

I’m not going to get into detailed discussion about the numbers, but most of my posts have got around the same number of readers and the occasional thumbs up from fans. One post was far and away the most read, liked, commented etc of all that I wrote

and I think that’s probably not due to anything Medium-related but because it got recommended and shared a lot amongst politicians and political science types. It’s a post that seems to get discovered every so often by someone new, which gives it another boost in the reading figures.

Other stuff that’s done well have been my posts about the Liberal Democrats, especially the stuff on the supporters’ scheme debate last year.

(Interestingly, “The centrist fallacy” was a follow-up to those, after the discussions at Autumn Conference)

One thing about those posts is that Lib Dem-related posts do have a network of other party members and activists who follow me on Twitter or Facebook and make a ready audience to read and share those around, especially in the middle of a big debate for the party when there’s lots of opinions being shared and lots of people wanting to find out more.

One subject that didn’t catch fire as much as I thought it would was my running posts. This was probably partly due to me not doing them as regularly as I should, but even when I did them, they didn’t pick up many readers. That might just be because I’m not very good at writing about running, or that runners are too busy going out running to want to read about it. Anyway, even if the writing didn’t take off, I did make it round the London Marathon.

Overall, though, membership and the Partner Programme have been good for me over the last year, and have been a lot less hassle (and less costly!) than running my own site, which is why I’ll be continuing here for the next twelve months. I’m going to try and write more and post more regularly, and if it works maybe next year I’ll be writing a post about my first Ferrari downpayment…or maybe just which takeaway I’m going to get.

Many, many things. PhD student at QMUL. Councillor. Ran the 2019 London Marathon for Brain Research UK. @nickjbarlow on Twitter.

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