How to read average articles for free

Hover over the paywall.

Hover over the paywall.
Photo: Shutterstock

Medium, the blogging platform/publisher that once wanted to revolutionize online media, has placed its content behind a $5/month paywall. After a few free articles a month, you can’t read anything without paying. Unless you use Twitter.

Since February, Medium articles are free when you visit them from Twitter. So if someone tweets a Medium piece or sends it in a direct message, anyone clicking on the link will not be hit by the paywall. This even applies when you DM yourself. It’s an easy way to view any Medium article for free.

If you hit the average paywall, you just have to open twitter, go to your DMs and DM yourself the link. Then click on your own DM’s link, and you’re there.

It’s a bit of work, but less work than getting around the New York Times or Wall Street Journal paywall. And while average messages can vary widely in quality, that is houses several quality publications such as Gen and OneZeroas well as all publications older than Medium cultivated and closed.

I tested this DM process with a dozen links in a row, from various Medium posts, and it kept working. So if there’s a rate limit on this tip, it’s above the number Medium articles that you are likely to come across on any given day. Once you paste that many URLs into Twitter every day, you might just want to pay the five bucks a month.

I was hoping Twitter would just add a string to the end of outgoing URLs to let other sites know that a visitor came from Twitter. That way, I could pretend I was from Twitter by pasting a string at the end of a Medium post URL and bypass the DM process. But Twitter runs all outbound links through its URL shortener, so I couldn’t find an easy workaround. If you manage to hack a set, share it with the class.

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