Medium vs Twitter

Comparing Two Very Different Social Media Giants

Pathless Pilgrim
4 min readOct 11, 2021
Medium vs Twitter Comparing Two Very Different Social Media Giants | by Pathless Pilgrim

Medium vs Twitter? At first glance this might seem like a very odd comparison. After all, these are two very, very different social media platforms — how can it be possible to make any useful comparisons between the two?

And yet that is exactly what I’ve found myself doing recently. I’ve been on Twitter for years and I’m only slightly ashamed to admit that I’m a bit of a Twitter addict — I suspect the same goes for most of the people reading this article. I’ve always been drawn to the ease with which you can get your message out quickly and easily to a lot of people. But lately I’ve been spending more time getting to know Medium and the more time I spend here, the more I like it.

Twitter is by far the bigger platform, with around 200 million users active every day. By comparison, according to a quick Google search, Medium has a ‘mere’ 60 million active users per month. Follower counts on Medium also tend to be lower than on Twitter, but from what I can gather, those followers tend to be more engaged generally than many of your followers on Twitter will be. This is great news if you want to engage more deeply and really make people think.

A lot of businesses use Twitter as a form of brand promotion more than anything else because it’s great for reminding people that you exist. It’s also a good way to make announcements — to tell people about a new product, an offer or a competition, for example.

For people like myself, who aren’t running a business as such but are promoting a cause (in my case veganism/animal rights) Twitter can also be a great way to keep that cause in the forefront of people’s minds, share the latest news and remind people about the issues. There’s no doubt that Twitter can certainly be a very powerful platform for certain types of content or campaigns.

But whilst Twitter’s 280 character limit lends itself perfectly to short, snappy tweets and responses — and is therefore notoriously addictive — it can sometimes feel a little shallow, a little frantic, a little repetitive. And although it’s relatively easy to get thousands of followers, many of those are likely to be following you only to get follow-backs so a fairly high proportion of your overall followers could be fairly ‘low quality’.

After so long on Twitter I felt that I wanted to say more. I felt many of the things being discussed warranted more in-depth exploration. So too, apparently, did Evan Williams when he left the team who created Twitter and struck out on his own to create Medium. With Medium, you get a chance to say more — a lot more! In fact, the more you say, the more you’re rewarded. This tends to lead to much more quality content.

I also feel that a higher proportion of followers tend to be interested in what you have to say, although this could be changing due to a new rule that Medium have introduced which requires writers to have at least 100 followers before they can earn money for their stories. As a result, right now people are following each other randomly and frantically and begging for follow-backs. I don’t think this can be useful or helpful to anyone in the long term, but it’s early days yet so we’ll see how it goes.

And that final point highlights another major difference between Twitter and Medium — monetization. The only way to monetize Twitter is to link to an external website. Twitter doesn’t like people following external links — they like you to stay on the platform as long as possible. This is totally understandable but it results in the algorithm giving lower priority to tweets with external links. As a result, it can be hard to make money with Twitter.

Medium, on the other hand, pays you directly for your stories being read — the more read time your stories accrue, the more you earn. This leads to a much more thoughtful, less rushed experience overall and a much more in-depth treatment of subjects. Following, ‘liking’ (through claps) and replying are still a big part of the Medium experience as they are with Twitter, but even the replies tend to be longer and more thoughtful, leading to some interesting discussions.

I won’t be leaving Twitter any time soon, but since getting to know Medium, I’m spending a lot more time here and a lot less time tweeting. I’ve also become a paid member of Medium which, at just $5 a month, gives me unlimited access to articles (free members are limited as to which articles they can read) meaning I not only get to read all the best content from my favourite authors but also get to comment more widely, increasing my engagement and following in the process. It also feels good to know I’m helping to support other writers on the platform.