Turning inner space into outer space

August 15, 2012

Medium tries to improve the message

There seems to be no end to ideas on how to improve web content. The latest comes from the founders of Twitter — Evan Williams and Biz Stone. They were also instrumental in Blogger, the blogging platform now run by Google.

Their idea is called Medium, and they’re not referring to size but a means of doing something — in this case, publishing. They’re still fleshing things out, but the gist of it is that you write something then post it in one of several pre-defined categories (in the parlance, collections with themes, each having its own template) or start one of your own. An example is Look What I Made. People who post to the same category are considered collaborators.

Other members can approve of posts by voting for them. Those with the most votes rise to the top. The idea is that good writing will be rewarded with the best play.

Aside from that, Medium uses an attractive layout that reminds me of the new Digg. It’s clean, uncluttered and makes liberal use of pictures.

While I support the idea of trying to raise the quality of writing on the web, it remains to be seen if this is the way to go. Medium hardly seems revolutionary at this point, but I still wish them the best of luck.

You can read more in an article at Macworld. Most telling is this quote gleaned from Williams’s blog:

When you consider we’ve been publishing on paper for over 500 years and on the Internet for only a couple decades, it’s no surprise we haven’t figured it all out. It’s still early days.

Update: Mathew Ingram offers his thoughts at Giga Om. He sees similarities with Digg, Pinterest and Tumblr.

Update 2: Be sure to read this excellent analysis by Joshua Benton at Nieman Journalism Lab. His point about the privileged fleeing the common spaces when they become too popular (or vulgar?) is dead on.