Medium.com has been around for a few months. Another brainchild of Twitter founder @ev and @biz, it’s a clean and simple publishing community for posts longer than Twitter’s 140, but less than a novel. In other words, medium length posts.
The content is arranged in Collections – such as Best Thing I Found Online Today, Dear (blank), Food For Thought, IMHO, plus many others.
Originally when Medium was launched it was in a closed beta (the only people who like closed betas are the people inside the closed beta) and publishing access was only for a small group however everyone could read posts. But lately they have been loosening the reins a bit and slowly letting others start posting on the platform.
I’ve posted a couple of times on Medium to try it out and here’s what I think:
- Super easy to use, clean interface and typography, very simple and uncomplicated. No fluffing around with formatting and plugins
- Readers can add your post into a different category if they like – extending your reach
- Medium tells shows you how long – in minutes – it will take to read a post. Great thinking
- Seamless integration with Twitter (unsurprisingly) – your profile is set up in a couple of clicks or less
- Commenting is in the form of Notes on each line of your post, rather than at the end of the post
- You can allow other contributors to review your post before it is published (this is also a quick way to get publishing access to Medium)
The bits that need improving:
- No way to search for someone who you know posts on Medium. You can follow a category but not a person – and no way of finding their past posts unless you find their Medium profile
- You can post something but unless you are very popular, it would be hard to get it to the top story in the category (top posts are voted up by clicking on the Recommend button).This means your post will get lost in the river of posts streaming past – a bit like Twitter really.
- Normal rules of SEO via Google do not seem to apply (no tagging functionality)
- The simple stats available to let you know how many have viewed, read, commented and recommended your post will fall short of people used to Google Analytics
- The lack of a support forum is surprising – assistance appears to be via FAQs or email.
As a reader, I’ve been loving Medium. I’ve been consuming new content and articles I wouldn’t have stumbled across before. I set up an RSS feed for the Editors Picks category which curates some of the best posts each day.
As a writer, I’ve enjoyed the simpler interface and uncluttered layout. It will be interesting to watch what happens over time as more and more writers are able to publish on Medium, and without a Follow function how this will impact the reach of the content you write.
Medium is still evolving so it is definitely worth keeping eye on. You can read my posts here over on Medium.