It’s my second day ever in Silicon Valley, and my first day of work in the startup world. One of my first tasks as a marketing intern for this young company is to subscribe to Medium. Not really knowing much about the site, other than the fact that it is full of blogs, I begin to explore. I stumble across articles like How to Save San Francisco and In Defense of Ms. Hill, and I am instantly intrigued by the wide range of topics and writing styles available throughout the site.
If we’re being honest, subscriptions (even if they are free) always scare me away. Signing up to receive emails every day, only to open them so the little red circle above my gmail app goes away gets annoying after a month, sometimes after a week. And I know there is the option to unsubscribe to anything I subscribe to but sometimes that doesn’t even stop the emails from coming. So I usually just stay away. But this was for work and I gave my email away to a site I had never used before.
It’s now a day into using Medium and on my way to work I receive my first daily digest. I put all of my biases aside and go into the email with an open mind. With sections like Today’s Highlights, Most Read in Art, and Editor’s Picks, I am where I thought I would be. Signed up for a newsletter that I will receive every day and not really care to look at because it is so generic. And a lot of times this turns me away from a site that I enjoy being on because I’m being bombarded with emails meant for a broad audience. That did not happen this time.
After using Medium’s site for a few days, and reading content that I genuinely enjoy, I receive my fifth daily digest (not that this is the lucky number or anything, it’s just how it worked out for me). In this email lie recommendations in sections like Based on Your Reading History, Best in Media, and Best in Psychology. All topics that I had been reading about in my first week. This was the first newsletter I have ever received where I was actually having trouble deciding which article to read because I wanted to read four of the ones listed.
Diving deeper into Medium’s content through the daily digests, and the homepage I start to notice this balance between recommendations for me and general suggestions from Medium’s editors. Medium still shows me the conversational and insightful articles that they want to put forth. The recommendations are not overpowering the voice of the editors. The site has life.
It allows for new, equally interesting, topics to seamlessly appear on my homepage. It promotes the serendipitous feeling I receive when I stumble over an entertaining article that I would have never seen without the help of Medium.
Even with my doubts, Medium quickly became my source for both entertaining commute reads and insightful work related research. Receiving emails every morning is not annoying or inconvenient but it is entertaining and empowering. I look forward to opening my daily digest emails where I find articles that I can easily relate to. For once, I do not have to waste any time browsing for the articles I want to read because the options are laid out for me. It’s an effortless interaction.
And it all occurred so seamlessly. To the point where I did not even realize the personalization. So when I came across the paywall of 5$ a month, I was not turned away at all. In fact, I sort of wanted to pay it. And I know this may be a corny, but for the first time in my life I felt as if a subscription to a publication was worth providing my email, and more importantly, my money.