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Method #1: Vocal's New Feature: Vocal Reader Insights. What is it? And, why does it matter?

Why does Vocal’s new feature, Vocal Insights, matter to you, the Vocal Creator community? Here’s my take on Vocal Insights (with an added personal touch, of course)! ... part of my "Method for Murdering Medium" Series.

By Prashanth ChandrasegaramPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 6 min read

ATTENTION ALL: This spring of 2022, Vocal has sprung its new Vocal Insights feature on us!

Why does Vocal’s new feature, Vocal Insights, matter to you, the Vocal Creator community? Here’s my take on Vocal Insights (with an added personal touch, of course!)

Please see the scoop below!

Waking up to “Reader Insights on Vocal”

Well, the Vocal team sent an e-mail out bright and early this morning that I type this--6:00AM to be precise. So, its hot off the press (of the virutal variety)! The content's of this e-mail? News on the brand, spanking-new feature!

But, its still the morning till 12PM. So, should we just pull the cover over our faces and go back to sleep? Or, should we take the time to read the blurb by the CreatD CEO, Mr. Justin Maury, which you can find here, on Vocal’s “Reader Insight” feature?

Well, I don’t know about you, but I still have sand in my eyes as I type this. So, going back to sleep is tempting.

And, what a perfect day of the week it would be to catch some more shut eye (what day of the week isn't?). That said, this day, spring has sprung in grey-skied, cool-and-rainy Toronto, where I live. Amidst the pitter-patter of spring rain against my window this morning, I had the chance to peek at my phone screen, which is usually littered with notifications about the stock market.

And, what did my sleep eyes see?

45 unread e-mails--this is new! Now, I generally don’t let my mailbox get this untamed, so as any reasonable person with self-proclaimed, undiagnosed OCD would do, once I have a chance, I shall get to it immediately—which is exactly what a self-proclaimed, undiagnosed procrastinator would say.

But, I have an excuse!

Right now, I’m doing more important things: Entertaining you here as you read this, which is more a reason (not an excuse!), now. (Or, is it not so?)

Now, among the new unread e-mails, one of them caught my eye. It read:

“Introducing Reader Insights on Vocal”

Perfect! Just in time for spring, Vocal has sprung on us a new feature! And, unlike others Vocal Creators, who have may have sent this to the junk folder, I decided that, as soon as I could, I’d take a read. And, so I did.

And, it leads to a link (the one above, but I’ll leave it here for you as well). If you have the time, please feel free to read that too. That said, if your awake and ready to read some more, here's some thoughts put to paper for your eyes on Vocal Reader Insights. Let's get to it!

Reader Insights? What is it and why should I care?

Let’s answer the questions post-haste. What is Vocal’s “Reader Insights” feature?

Its a social-vetting-and-grading feature.

Well, I’d call it a social-vetting-and-grading feature. Vocal reader insights allows you to leave a constructive comment with the *tap* of the finger or a *click* of a button. That's convenient! And, convenience is good. Also, constructive comments are also good. They are helpful and encouraging. And encouragement is definitely needed in this hyper-competitive space of the online-writing-and-web-publishing niche where its easy to get discouraged. So, hats off to Vocal.

Vocal's New Feature: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Good move, Vocal, good move.

And, speaking of good moves, let’s not only talk about the goods, but the goods, the bads, and the ugly in totality. Take a look below.

The Good: There are a few.

The points

So, what are the goods? Here are the points:

  • It’s competitive—i.e., hasta la vista, Medium!
  • It’s convenient—i.e., its automated!
  • It’s constructive—i.e., its useful!

It’s competitive!

It allows Vocal Creators to continue to remain Vocal Creators rather than turning Vocal into a door that turns people on to the space only to have them turn to Medium

It’s automated!

Who doesn’t like a little automatic automagic?

It’s useful (for you, the Vocal Creators)!

It’s encouraging. It’s constructive. It keeps Vocal Creators engaged. It keeps Vocal Creators motivated. It empowers Vocal Creators with tools on how and what to create more of and what to polish up or take back to the drawing board. So, it looks like a win-win here for Vocal Creators and Vocal.

More on Competitiveness

This update should keeps Vocal competitive in the online-writing-and-web-publishing space. Medium already has its own version, called “Medium Audience Insights”. This model looks a lot like that of the likes of LinkedIn (fun fact, owned by Microsoft, the king of taking other ideas and turning it into something better). Also, I’ve seen a similar semi-automated feature on a poetry site called “AllPoetry” (a website that (once at least) claimed the right to call itself the largest online poet community in the world. But, I promise, I won’t make a shamless plug to the work I put on there before migrating to Vocal.

Anyways, taken together, in good form (and, perhaps, in the footsteps of the brainy Bill Gates and his brainchild, Microsoft), Vocal copy-catted the heck out of Medium, and made it their own!

They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery. I say this is a job well done.

The Bad

So, what are the bads? Here are the points:

  • Its Vocal Creator complaints.
  • Its automated.

Complaints

Vocal Creators will likely complain about not having the comment section still though others will likely openly embrace the new update. I’d say it’s better than nothing and that it’s thoughtful. Also, from a place of constructive criticism, the automation trades off personal touch. Now, though I’m writing about complaints, I’m not complaining. I think it’s a nifty feature. That said, expect a complaint or two. Here, it's all about people management for Vocal as they push forward on their attempt to defeat the Mighty Medium.

Its automated!

Yes, I know this was one of the points for the goods. But, as stated above, the automation leaves personal touch lacking, and, perhaps, an easier way to wrongly, though still constructively, critique something, which may not be great for personal growth as well as enhancing the quality of the content on Vocal. This is something important the Vocal team will need to think about in order to help the Vocal Creators survive the online-writing-company wars.

Bonus: The “Ugly”: No comment section (yet)?

So, there is no comments section feature that has been rolled out still—But! They promised that they are working on this as a future update (in that CEO letter that you were too sleepy to read). Now, if they ever do plan to roll out a comments section feature, I honestly think the best way to do this (or, in other words, “implement the feature” if we wanted to use CEO speak) is to use the Facebook Comments plugin feature. The argument would be to not be niche here. Facebook is the high-flying tech company that it is because of its gigantic user base. Vocal would be wise to tap into it. And, if they do, it will help you get a better reach easier. I can see why Vocal may avoid the free-reign of a full-fledged Facebook feature (don’t fumble over that alliteration!). They are trying to protect the Vocal Creators from negative, argumentative, and discouraging comments that some websites are just full of. Have you seen the Daily Mail Entertainment section? My goodness!

Perhaps, less is more. And, I think this is a great idea. But, I’m not the CEO, so I’m allowed to sit on the fence and unabashedly say that:

I just don’t know

if less is mo’

(...is that groaning I hear?)

Highlights: Sound Smarter about the Space (that You are Creating in)

  • Vocal trades off the engagement value of commenting for constructiveness and convenience

(Please feel free to tip me for that alliteration as I could totally use a coffee to help wake up these sleepy eyes).

  • A Facebook comment section plugin should be considered.

(And, it probably has been already considered by an executive, seated behind that shiny, mahogany desk. (See my last piece here if you haven’t and want to understand the “reference”.))

  • LinkedIn has a similar (though not the same) vetting-and-grading feature, called “Skills”
  • Medium (DEFINETLY) has a similar feature, (creatively) called “Medium Audience Insight”
  • Bonus fact: Medium’s feature is similar to Quora’s feature, (also creatively) called “Your Content & Stats”

So, Comments vs Constructiveness and Convenience, huh?

Yes.

And, if done it right, Vocal may be the underdog that defeats the Goliath of this space, the Mighty Medium (which means we’ll get to still call ourselves Vocal Creators—YAY!). In any case, in my books, Vocal gets a gold star for this new “Reader Insight” feature update!

And, that’s it!

Thanks for reading! I hope you are enjoying my “Method for Murdering Medium” Series. And, to all of my lovely subscribers: I love you. You’re awesome. ♥

Please see my less boring content that awaits your lovely eyes on my profile here, or the profile link below (beside the picture of my face)!

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About the Creator

Prashanth Chandrasegaram

Dreaming of escape to a tropical, teardrop-shaped island, a place of my parents' tearful escape, a place once called home.🌴

Red-blooded Tamil. 🇱🇰

Born and raised on Canadian soil. 🇨🇦

HBSc (Neuroscience). 🧠

Working on a CPA. 🧮

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Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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    Prashanth ChandrasegaramWritten by Prashanth Chandrasegaram

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