Can you have very little network but great impact?

The linkage between the impact and the connections is somewhat complicated. It is not that hard to imagine that a person with a wide network and connections to many nodes will create contents on Medium that will have an impact because as this will diffuse through the network, it will reach and snowball to reach multiple eyes. After all, many eyes make bugs shallower, so discussions/feedbacks will ensue, embellishing the impact further. Au contraire, to me at least, it is equally hard to imagine that a sole genius pushing novel ideas out there (someone new to the system of Medium not knowing anyone or not tied to a network) will have that kind of an impact. Rather, for this content creator, no matter how “impactable” the work be, it will nevertheless be an uphill task to make any impact in the ecosystem without access to the right network.

Which then brings back the assertion that Saul Carlin makes here: getting paid is tied directly to the impact _rather_ than the right connections. Will Medium be that agent to forge those connections? Well, examine what it has now offered to the content creators and how that operates.

  • Medium offers you a space (we do not know the size of that space — at least admittedly I do not know) and a maximum of creating seven publications
  • Medium offers you the reader and the writer the ability to “fork” ideas off one another — the network element if you will, is built right there, inextricable from the impact.
  • Medium has created spaces for publications but the publications are selective. There is no guarantee that your article will be accepted into any publication. If you can get your writing into a publication, you have chance of getting eyeballs and clicks. Going solo, chances are less, unless you are an M.G. Siegler or a Walt Mossberg.
  • Beyond that, it’s up to you to find your own audience and sing your own song for most of us (I write “most of us” because Medium pays some people to write stuff, but then for most, it does not charge anything to write here).

So, it seems to get paid off Medium, unless there are plans that will be revealed over time, I do not see how the “network” effect be separated from the “impact” factor. Perhaps a clearer idea of what or how Medium uses “impact” for payment of authors need to be made clear. On the other hand, if this means that Medium down the line will create opportunities for monetising through the system based on a formula on “impact” of the individual work neatly independent of “connections”, I’d think that this will be a game changer model, a paradigm shift of what we have been seeing in terms of how people in general get paid from their writing on the web. As Medium continues to shine and innovate, this is a space to watch.

Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Environmental Health at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Also in:

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