I wish people would read my older stories. Most will read my latest post that appears in their feed because they follow me or a publication. Others will read the story I’ve featured in my profile.
But what about my older darlings? They lie neglected, waiting for a return to the fleeting moment of glory when they flashed through the spotlight of your Medium feed. They long for some claps, would swoon over a comment. They ask “What’s the fault in us? Aren’t some of us better than the latest hogwash from our creator? Is our only crime that we were born yesterday? Is that why our life is shorter than that of a mayfly?”
I don’t want this to happen to you and your older profferings for the world. So, I’ve been reading the previous stories of as many of my followees (yes, it’s a word) as I can. I try to comment, but at least clap, for those I like. And I enjoy a surprising number, given how I am a cynical and critical old Virgo.
Time has come to share with you the reasons why I do, including sheer empathy. There are three reasons, and as with all reasons, they are ultimately selfish. But hey, if the ends are good, do we really need to carp and be holier than thou?
Reason #1: I find gems in there, modern classics.
The sources of learning and delight are not restricted to the classics or famous modern books, not by a long mile. I’ve found inspiring pieces in the writings of several Medium authors.
I won’t name all my favourites, especially as our tastes could differ. Still, some examples of authors I want to read more of are Steve Newman, Martin Vidal, Jessica Wildfire, KR Franklin, Jordan Gross, H L Warren and Melinda Crow.
We can only write well if we read a lot and widely. Adding stories from Medium to my reading menu increases its variety significantly. It adds to my skills, by widening the thoughts and ideas of my mind.
Reason #2: I make deeper connections.
I believe in having a few friends of high quality instead of a wide but shallow network of almost-pals. Naturally, this extends to the online world where I want rich relationships with a score of writers rather than follow and be followed by thousands meaninglessly. Obviously, for some the latter helps with earning money and I understand it. But my primary motivation is to enjoy the act of writing and the work of others. Developing a few friendships along the way is the icing on the cake.
The obvious way to do this is by looking into more of the work of anyone who strikes a chord and putting aside select writers to examine and understand better. Then I’ll read most of what they publish, and interact with them regularly. These deep connections are more satisfying for me. If it goes both ways, they go on the shortest and sweetest list— Good Medium Buddies.
Reason #3: I feel good being altruistic.
You know you feel good when you do something for someone without being asked. It’s a human trait. We need to enjoy it more. I do, by reading on Medium even when I don’t have to, and leaving little messages about what felt good. I am fine if it is not reciprocated. Sure, the warm glow I feel is selfish, but I think being nice is the best form of selfishness. Don’t you?
Karma? I don’t know about that. But there’s something to be said for nice things happening to nice people. It would be mainly because if even half your niceness is returned, it has great value. Plus, being nice takes less energy than negativity and improves our health and mind, which in turn can only carry us further in life. So, there’s a higher form of selfishness for you. Go on, practise it without feeling guilty.
How about you?
Set aside just fifteen minutes a day for reading the older posts of those you follow. As a typical Medium story is a three-minute read, that’s five older stories appreciated. Wherever a nice thought comes to your mind, leave it as a comment. Claps are okay but about a twentieth as pleasing.
One problem is, what if you have over a thousand genuine followees? We can’t turn this from a pleasure into a pain. Then randomise! It’s okay if you don’t cover them all. Just do one or two a day. If the rate at which you add followers is lower, you’ll catch up. If it’s higher, do your best, for that’s all you can do.
Mind you — I am assuming you are following your followees because you liked one of their stories or their comments or claps for one of yours. Perhaps you know them from outside Medium. Whatever the case, I trust your main reason for following more and more people is not to have a big following in return. That is a bit yuck, no? And please please don’t tell me you expect them to read your stories but you really really don’t have the time for them and theirs.
No, you are more mature. You are a genuine follower. So, it’s my submission that you try out this reading idea if you aren’t doing it.
I mean it, I am at your service if you want me to read your older work. Just ping me, somewhere. You could even comment on this story with your ID, and I’ll look up your portfolio. It’s the least I can do to serve the muse which has given us so much delight for so long. Amen.
Now that this is written and will be submitted and out the door in another 30 seconds let me grab a cuppa and spend my fifteen minutes for today reading someone else’s old stories. It could even be yours, my dear reader.