Medium is a simple self-publishing platform that launched last October to serve the next generation of bloggers who would like more than 140 characters. If the first generation of self-publishing platforms best served serious writers, the second generation of self-publishing platforms — think Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram — have favored those whose messages come in the form of 140-character statements, images and GIFs.
Founded by Evan Williams, who also co-founded Blogger and Twitter, Medium aims to be a place for writers to contribute as much or as little as they like, without the commitment of a blog.
Three key things that set Medium apart:
First, it’s networked: If the first generation of blogs were like islands, housed at independent URLs across the web, Medium is a suburban sprawl, connected by collections (shown below) and user recommendations
Second, Medium is collaborative: It offers a number of tools to allow writers to collaborate and seek feedback before and after the publish button is pressed. As we mentioned, members can invite others to preview and contribute to drafts before they published. Readers can also leave in-line notes on a post. Authors choose whether or not to make those comments public, like this one
Third, posts are spread around based on interest and engagement – not how popular or well-known the writer is.
Why I’m Curious
The idea of creating a network of writers and posts, tied together by a plethora of categories, is certainly an exciting proposition. I wonder if the network will sustain a high enough caliber of writing once the invite-only Beta goes public. Perhaps they’ll retain journalists across some key categories to ensure timely and relavant posts (a la Buzzfeed).
Speaking of categories, I image they will become a lot more prominent than they currently are on the site, since it will otherwise run the risk of becoming your Facebook newsfeed: lots of information that is largely irrelevant.