If you’re reading this headline, it’s a minor miracle

Louis Barclay
2 min readFeb 6, 2024

I have 214 Medium followers.

Not that many to start with. And in fact, things are worse than they look.

According to Feedium, only 1% of my followers will see anything I write here.

That’s 2 people. You and one other person.

Hello there!

And I have no other way to reach you. I can’t email you, I can’t message you.

This is what Medium calls being a ‘follower’. But like on most platforms, that’s a lie. You aren’t really following me if you’re only 1% likely to see my articles.

That’s why I’m leaving Medium for good.

Let’s rewind for a second.

The good old days

I’ve been using Medium since 2016.

I still remember how thrilling it was to start with. Clean typography set on a plain white page.

Medium was where my ideas met the world. I launched an app called Go Away here, and promoted the idea of deleting your News Feed.

I tried to get thousands of people to become a co-CEO of my app, and offered to put Mark Zuckerberg’s head on a fish for anyone who shared it.

I used Medium as a playground for interesting ideas, and over time I built up those 214 followers.

An OK number to start growing an audience.

What a mistake!

An audience ownership rookie

When I wrote on Medium, it was without having spent a millisecond considering the questions of audience ownership which I now spend my time thinking about.

Questions like:

  • What does it mean to have a follower on Medium? (Not much)
  • How many of my followers will actually see my posts (1%, max.)
  • How can I talk to my Medium followers? (Only by posting an article)
  • Can I take them anywhere? (No)

Half the followers, 20x the engagement

Compare that with my new Substack newsletter, 12 Challenges, which now has 118 subscribers.

That’s far fewer than the 214 Medium followers, but it amounts to far more.

My newsletters there are guaranteed to reach at least half of the subscriber base, and that won’t ever change because of the whims of some content recommendation algorithm.

If Substack treat me badly, I can simply move my email subscribers to another platform.

This begs the question. Everywhere you turn, you see the email subscription model. So…

Why would anyone build an audience on Medium in 2024?

No idea.

Goodbye Medium. If you’re one of the two minor miracles reading this, come join me at 12 Challenges.