Today I have for you some commentary on AI-generated content, a cool way to organize your spending, hot links and a neat little trick to get you to spend less time on your iPhone.

—Nick Wolny

Medium deleted 10 million spam posts last month alone

Canva

Medium is an open-source publishing website for independent writers. Most of you found me via Medium. In a world where most social media companies are spearheaded by CEOs who are having masculinity crises, Medium's Tony Stubblebine is blogging his way through the noise, and it appears to be working.

If you haven't looked into Medium in a while, here's a bulleted summary to catch you up:

  • Anyone can create an account on Medium and start publishing blogs and articles for free.
  • Writers who paywall their stories can make money from Medium's Partner Program, based on how the stories perform within Medium, usually measured by read time.
  • “Boosts,” a new feature that rolled out last year, dramatically shifted what gets amplified on Medium and why. Publication editors nominate stories for Boosts.
  • In my ultimate guide to writing on Medium, part 3 asserts that writing for publications is the fastest way to grow your audience and income. This is even more true now that Boosts exist.
  • Users can still read 3 paywalled stories a month for free, but you have to create a profile now to read them.
  • The membership is still $5/month.
  • There is also a Friend membership for $15/month, in which 100% of the extra dues goes toward the Medium Partner Program fund.

Medium is one of the best platforms for creators to generate income, and it achieves this without any ads at all.

There's a problem, though

And that problem's name is AI.

Users are attempting to game Medium's Partner Program by publishing millions of AI-generated articles and posts. Literally.

In a new post, Stubblebine explains that Medium removes an average of one million spam posts per month. Last month, however, it was 10 million. The allure of AI-generated writing is intoxicating to a lot of people, and Medium makes it easy to understand how this writing could generate money.

The sad truth is that AI really is disrupting the writing industry. People don't want to write anymore; they just want the results that come from publishing something. One of the best counterarguments I hear to the AI productivity bros is this: “If you couldn't be bothered to take the time to write it, why should I bother to take the time to read it?”

I am hoping to lean back into Medium this year and try some new things. If you enjoy reading, though, I would highly recommend the platform. Stubblebine has a new post that shares some of the behind-the-scenes of the platform. The site is also doing a summer membership drive; memberships are 20% off.

You should read this post

Here are the five points Tony makes, to give you a sneak peek:

  1. We are building a place that respects your time, free from ads
  2. We are building a place that recommends the best writers, not the loudest ones
  3. We protect you from a deluge of spam, fraud, and AI-generated content
  4. We promote deeper understanding, not misunderstanding or division
  5. We reward writers to do the hard work of researching and articulating their ideas and knowledge

Read the post here.

🔗 Read on Medium

20 types of sinking funds to consider

Canva

In personal finance, a sinking fund is a savings account that you don't count toward your net worth because you know you're going to blow all of this money -- hopefully on something fun. I made a Pride month sinking fund this year, and I'm patting myself on the back for it because I've been delightfully messy so far this month.

If you've ever created something like a vacation fund or holiday fund, that's a sinking fund. Nothing feels better than buying something you really want with cash you already have. It can be tough to pay for things upfront in cash, though, which is why ideally you're socking away a dollar here and a dollar there to set yourself up for a soft landing.

My personal finance perspective is that money culture is often really similar to diet culture and purity culture, both of which can be toxic. Lack mentality gets you nowhere. (Though maybe I'm a little toxic, because I do think a little discipline does get you somewhere, depending on the situation.) Sometimes the better move is to brainstorm solutions on how to make more money or more profit instead.

What could you set up a sinking fund for? Here's a blog post from annuities company Empower that gives 20 good examples.

🔗 Read up on Sinking Funds

Reading Is Fundamental

Canva

Industry

New York state passed legislation that will ban 'addictive' social media algorithms for kids. (NBC News)

The New York Times' source code was stolen using an exposed GitHub token. Whoops. (BleepingComputer)

Fizz, a new messaging app that lets young people post anonymously about their classmates, ripped apart a Vermont high school.(The Wall Street Journal)

ConvertKit, an email service provider, will rebrand to Kit. Yuck. But they also announced a video podcasting studio in Boise that is FREE to book for any ConvertKit clients, a unique selling proposition I haven't seen a software company do before. (Nathan Barry's newsletter)

The Internet Can Be as Good for Your Mental Health as a Walk in Nature, Says a New Study. (CNET)

-

Money

Want a vacation for under $1,000 this summer? Why you should consider a road trip. (MarketWatch)

Three stocks account for 20% of the S&P 500’s value. Considering that the S&P 500 is an index of 500 companies, this imbalance has some investors feeling nervous. (MarketWatch)

Spotify will introduce a more expensive subscription tier for music lovers. The premium tier will be $5 more per month, but has better curation features. (Bloomberg -- friend link)

-

AI and Future Tech

WWDC 2024: Apple Intelligence, iOS 18, MacOS 15 and Everything Else Apple Announced. (CNET)

iPhone Mirroring Has My Attention: Here's How Apple Says This New Feature Will Work. (CNET)

Apple Rolled Out Its Own Password Manager App. (CNET)

Brazil is hiring OpenAI to help it cut down costs on thousands of court battles. (Reuters)

In a preliminary experiment, AI from Google used to optimize traffic light rhythms decongested city traffic by 30%. Some unusually utopic AI news for once! (The Wall Street Journal)

-

LGBTQ+

Residents of Kyiv, Ukraine attempted to negotiate the city's first Pride festival since 2021 by hosting it entirely in underground subways, but city officials denied the request, citing safety concerns. (LGBTQ Nation)

A new study found that one third of LGBTQ+ employees avoid coming out at work. (EduBirdie)

Fast Company released its fifth annual Queer 50, a list of LGBTQ+ movers and shakers in business. (Fast Company)

The Christopher Street subway station in New York City will be renamed in honor of the Stonewall Inn, based on a bill that passed unanimously last week. (The Advocate)

A profile of queer summer camps, an offering designed to connect queer and neurodivergent children with nature and one another. (NBC OUT)

Digestif

Need a way to tear yourself away from your iPhone? Set up a grayscale accessibility shortcut.

Making your phone screen black and white makes it more boring, which can help you pull yourself away. Here's how to do it on iOS.

  • Go to Settings
  • Go to Accessibility
  • Go to Display and Text Size
  • Go to Color Filters
  • Toggle on, and check that grayscale is checked. Then, toggle back off.
  • Now, go BACK two screens to Accessibility, and scroll all the way down to Accessibility Shortcuts.
  • Assign the shortcut to Color Filters.

Now, when you triple-click the side button, you'll be able to toggle your phone to black-and-white or back to color. :)

I love this little hack and hope you do too!

Cheering you on,

—Nick

➡️ Sign up for Financialicious, the newsletter some call the “gay Morning Brew,” for the latest news on online business, finance and LGBTQ+ culture. Get it here.