Is it a collage of all the right pieces? A tired iteration of preexisting parts? Medium has generated a good amount of buzz in the past week, varying in tone from the self-proclaimed “future of publishing” to just another blogging platform.
Medium is the latest platform from Blogger and Twitter creators Evan Williams and Biz Stone. It’s clear now that they changed not just the online world, but the world as a whole with these platforms. And in the eyes of Williams and Stone, Medium is an important next step in the continual evolution of online publishing.
“Thanks to simple services like blogging, social networking and Twitter, everyone has a voice,” Stone says. But it’s not a perfect world. “Many of us know the internet as a seemingly limitless source of information, but information is not knowledge. We’d like to see the web evolve to a point where we get smarter when we spend time engaging,” Biz says.
Just because we’ve created hit platforms doesn’t mean we can stop “raising the bar on quality content,” Williams adds.
Solving Content Congestion: How Medium Works
Medium’s introductory post says the team is in the first stages of “building a new platform from scratch.” Here’s what that platform looks like so far:
Medium drops categories, tags and all the rest for collections. Existing collections include “Look What I Made,” “The Writer’s Room” and “Been There. Loved That.”
According to the authors, “collections give people context and structure to publish their own stories, photos, and ideas.” The process is slightly different; instead of writing a post and determining its category (or collection), you select the collection first.
Why emphasis on categorization? “Medium doesn’t want you to read something because of who wrote it,” Williams says. “Medium wants you to read something because of what it’s about.”
The founders believe that “good design supports the purpose (not just the appeal) of content, and that’s why clean, simple design is a cornerstone of the platform.”
Each post is defined by a theme and a template for the sake of aesthetics, consistency and clarity.
Focus On Quality
By default, the highest-rated posts show up at the top to “help people get the most out of their time in this world of infinite information.” In the vein of Reddit and Digg, Medium is all about the value of the content, no matter who created it.
The platform has a clear focus on working with others to create a larger story, or collection.
And unlike personal blogs, frequency and promotion aren’t really an issue, so you don’t have to feel guilty about posting every now and then.”Posting on Medium is elegant and easy, and you can do so without the burden of becoming a blogger or worrying about developing an audience,” Williams says.
In the past week I’ve read a number of articles declaring that this Medium is, if anything, underwhelming. Twitter and Blogger were disruptive services; Medium is just another blogging platform, they say. But maybe underwhelming is exactly what we need to focus on quality content – a simple and clean blogging platform that focuses on the important stuff: content and quality.