This is a slightly edited version of a post that was originally published to Hatch (a version of Medium inside Medium) on November 13, 2013. See Hatching Inside Medium for context on this collection.
A Conversation with Refe Tuma, author of ‘Welcome to Dinovember’
On Monday, I spoke with Refe Tuma, author of “Welcome to Dinovember.” I wanted to speak to him to learn about his Medium experience, see if there was anything more we could do for him, and help him navigate the shoals of book publishing.
Refe kept his own blog but felt it was like “pulling teeth” to get readers. One of his previous Medium posts went viral, and he felt that getting attention for it was so much easier. The post got a lot of recommendations, so it ended up at the top of some collections. He said it “bubbled to the top” so it “lasted a long time” — it continued to be read for weeks, which “does not happen on a traditional blogging platform.”
With Dinovember, he did less promotion for it than with other posts. He created it for friends and family and shared the link on Twitter and on his personal Facebook page (which is limited to family and close friends), but it did not appear at the top of any collections. He feels that Medium is “set up as a community,” which can then drive discovery, but initial discovery feels more “difficult” over all. Once a post is discovered inside the Medium ecosystem, however, it is “easy” to gain traction.
Refe believes that Medium was “a big driving factor in [the post’s] initial success”; if he had posted it anywhere else, it “would not have enjoyed this success.” A big part of why it was so frequently shared was that “anyone could open it and easily get the post”; there were “no distractions or hurdles.” Medium’s “simple, beautiful presentation” means that a post is easy to grasp — there is “no learning curve to understand what you’re looking it.” Other platforms have “tons of ads and navigation elements,” but Medium is “so much easier to connect with.” There’s “nothing to compete” with the writing and photographs.
Refe enjoys writing in Medium — “you type [your text] in and see exactly how it will show up.” Medium “makes my job as a writer seem easier.” Interestingly, he said that “it makes me want to write shorter and cleaner and tighter.”
One thing is certain: Stay tuned for Dinovember, the book (What the Dinosaurs Did Last Night), and DIY kit, and perhaps the movie….