How to Get Notified When Your Favorite Medium Writer Posts Something New

By email, regardless of where on Medium they publish something

Image by author (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Medium is full of amazing writers. Some of them are so good that I don’t want to miss a single story they post.

The only problem is that medium currently doesn’t have any inbuilt mechanism to ensure that you get notified whenever a particular writer posts something. Other platforms, such as YouTube, handle this better. On YouTube you can subscribe to a particular channel and then click on a little bell icon:

Image by author (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Then, whenever there is a new video posted in that channel, you get a notification.

While we wait for Medium to implement a similar feature, here’s an alternative approach to get notified by email whenever your favorite writer publishes something new anywhere on Medium. This will save you the time of having to look through the Medium homepage or having to go repeatedly to your favorite writer’s profile to see if they have anything new.

How to set up email notifications with IFTTT

If you’ve never heard of IFTTT, it’s a web site that lets you interconnect different web services (such as Gmail, YouTube, Medium, Twitter, Facebook, etc.). IFTTT stands for If This Then That and using it we can set up the following rule:

If my favorite Medium writer posts something new on Medium, then send me an email with a link to their latest story.

If we do that, then we’ll get an email notification whenever our favorite writer posts something and we’ll never miss any of their stories again.

To set this up we’ll take advantage of the fact that there is an RSS feed for each Medium user. You can get the RSS feed for a particular user by simply prepending the string feed before the user’s name in his profile URL. For instance, if your favorite Medium writer is the user @my_favorite_medium_writer, then their profile URL would be https://medium.com/@my_favorite_medium_writer. Their RSS feed would, in turn, be located at https://medium.com/feed/@my_favorite_medium_writer.

With that knowledge, open IFTTT in a new browser tab or window and then keep reading.

If it’s your first time visiting IFTTT, you’ll have to create an account there. Once you’ve done that, click on your user profile picture at the top right, next to the Explore button:

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Then, select the option Create:

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The text “If This Then That” will appear on screen:

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On this screen you should click on the This within the text:

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This will open a search box, where you should type in “rss”:

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Clicking on the only result that appears, shown above as an orange box with the text RSS Feed, will take you to this screen:

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Once you’re there, click on the left orange box, labeled New feed item, and you’ll get this:

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Where it says Feed URL, make sure to enter the RSS feed of your favorite medium writer (https://medium.com/feed/@my_favorite_medium_writer if the username of your favorite writer was @my_favorite_medium_writer) and then click on Create trigger. You’ll be taken back to the "If Then That" screen. This time click on That:

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Now you’ll be presented with a search box again, where you should type in “email”:

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Of the two results that appear, select the one on the left, labeled Email:

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And then select Send me an email:

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Once you’ve done that, you should be presented with the following form:

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Here I like to modify the box labeled Subject by writing the name of my favorite writer before the {{EntryTitle}}, as shown above. That way, when an email comes in, it’ll have a descriptive subject line that helps me recognize the email as one containing a link to the latest story of my favorite writer.

Once you’re done, click Create action:

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You’ll get to the final step of the process where all you have to do is click Finish:

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And you’re done!

Wrapping up

If you followed the steps above, you should get an email notification whenever your favorite Medium writer posts something new anywhere on Medium. The email will arrive both if they self-publish a story and if they publish the story within any publication. To get the emails you don’t even have to be a follower of the writer and you definitely don’t need to follow all the publications where they publish.

The only caveat is that you’ll also receive an email when your favorite writer leaves a comment on another Medium story. This is so because in Medium both stories and comments appear in a writer’s RSS feed.

That might be precisely what you want. If it’s not, then you’ll just have to delete or ignore those additional emails.

If there is more than one writer whose content you want to get notified of, then just go through the whole process described above again using that other writer’s username.

And that’s it.

Now relax knowing that you’ll never miss anything again from that Medium writer you’re such a fan of!

In case you want to get notified when I publish something, you don’t have to go through the above rigmarole. Just subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

Science fan, cartoonist, PhD, eukaryote. Doesn't eat cats, dogs, nor other animals.

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