There is a scientific term for this form of self-promotion.
A friend of mine who used to write on Medium coined the term “CoatTail StarFucker” (CTSF).
If you had been around Medium since 2015, you would have noticed the changes in the site — none of them for the better — that have made it almost impossible for most writers to gain any traction.
Think about the promotional methods here that are accepted as “fair and normal”:
- People with huge social media followings have their derivative, unoriginal self-help articles (which violate Medium’s curation guidelines) featured or curated automatically.
- People who write personal essays with the slimmest connection to hot button issues get curated regularly, regardless of the writing quality.
- People who write sex “confessionals” (more likely fiction rejects from the Penthouse Forum) get huge exposure and regular curation.
- Paid writers worker for Medium whose work dominates the work presented by Medium-owned publications (also occupying 9 of the 12 links at the top of the Medium home page).
- Clogging up your daily feed with stories that have nothing to do with the topics you chose when you “customized” your reading preferences (e.g.: today, 20 out of 30 articles in my feed were not the topics I chose).
- Reducing the visibility of the writers I follow to a tiny 4-article box. Yes, I can click on the box and see a page of writers I follow. But in the old days, the feed was partly composed of writers I followed, and partly composed of articles recommended by writers I followed. Since the last change to the site in October, I can go days without seeing my favorite writers . The only way to find them is to go directly to their profile.
- Requests to join writers’ newsletters. This may be a violation of Medium’s rules, but it is ignored even though it is the most blatant form of self-promotion.
Here are the only tactics a writer has on this site to promote their work, most of which have been frowned upon by Medium:
- Follow, clap, highlight, or comment on the work of other writers in the hopes they look at your profile and read your work.
- Comment an article and add a link to their own related article, which is usually relevant to the original article. This is far simpler than copying and pasting a long passage.
- Respond to an article by writing an article and tagging the writer of the original article. (Any comment that is long enough and detailed enough probably should be turned into a separate article.)
- Promote the work of other writers in a Medium-style review and tag them so they know about it. Meanwhile, they will read the article and possibly read your work as a thank you. This is a technique for which I coined the phrase “Coat Tale Star Gazer” (CTSG).
- Tag a long list of people, hoping they will come to find where they are mentioned and then read the article. (If they are your friends, it’s not a big deal. If you tag a thousand strangers, it’s spam, and I’ve only seen that happen once.
This platform has become a rigged game that benefits a handful of people.
In every other area of society, throughout the history of the world, when a large group of people are given ample evidence that the rules are not applied equally and justice is just a buzz word, the system loses its legitimacy.
Medium is no different.
If someone takes enough time to read and comment on your work, be thankful they took the time to do so. There are plenty of other targets for our self-righteous indignation.
Unless you really are an A-Hole.