Monday, January 7, 2013

"Medium" and the Message

Interesting article over at Kernel "Where Blogs go Next" about a new platform called Medium which allows people to log into it using their Twitter account and create longer form pieces which are then posted to the Medium site and Twitter with the intent of driving traffic back to Medium for the full piece. 

I'm not sure what the author's connection is with the site, but is obviously a fan.   They state:
"The trouble with services such as WordPress and Blogger ... is that you normally require your own domain name, email and smartphone to make them work. A service such as WordPress has unlimited possibilities ...but is also very complicated and difficult to use on anything but but fanciest smartphone. Blogger is the same. Medium, however, is looking to change all that."
I'm not sure how Slater-Robbins got his/her Twitter account, but mine required an e-mail   Max notes that you need your own domain name and smartphone for Wordpress and Blogger, wrong and wrong.   Both Wordpress and Blogger will give you (free) website as a sub domain of their main site (yoursite.Blogger/ and work on other technology other than smartphones, er, computers or tablets (basically any internet connected device). They also go on to imply that because a similar site is invite only, that Blogger and Wordpress are.  Making out that either of these platforms as complex or exclusive is ludicrous. 

One thing I like about Medium is, what Slater-Robbins called "not dissimilar to Pintrest", you get a picture and brief summary  to draw you into the category or article. Nice visual effect tied to the article. 
screen view of Medium website

I do find Medium's model of blending of blogs interesting. It appears that rather than mine and yours, I post to the most appropriate category of blog, post short story, cancer etc. I also have the option of starting a new category. There's currently only a small selection of categories and it is currently not open to everyone to post to.  

I like it more from the browsing categories on Medium angle than from the Twitter angle.  The reason being, if I am browsing on Medium I have discovery,  where if I subscribe to a particular author on Twitter, I assume I'll pick up their posts regardless of category.  So whether its on Medium or their personal blog, it won't matter to the consumer where the long form version sits.

From a content producer side, I can see that if someone ends up on Medium and is browsing around, I could more easily be discovered, but at what cost? Currently there are no ads on the site, but the Kernel article notes that it will be advertisement supported, but none are currently displayed.  The article doesn't specify what, if any, cut authors will receive.

As a writer, I wouldn't be posting full length pieces on Medium.  Why?  When unpaid writers contributed to  the Huffington post they did so freely.  While they received advertisement revenue, they didn't receive any portion of the $315 million which the site was sold forOne writer notes that they were approached to write for HuffPo "they wanted me to simply give them my writing in exchange for “exposure”."  Medium strikes me as more of the similar.

Medium is a very interesting approach.  I suspect it'll do okay, get some traction.  All told it will be comprised of:
  1. People who want to post more than 140 characters, but don't see themselves as bloggers or entrepreneurs to justify having their own platform and are fine with posting their content without any real ownership.
  2. People who do see themselves as bloggers or entrepreneurs worthy of a domain will post their links on Twitter and Medium but will drive both back to their actual domain.  
Either way, Medium becomes the adjunct to developing a platform rather than the platform itself. While we're all at the mercy of the algorithms to some extent, a content producer's place is on their own domain where they can control what is shown and when, and be sure that both the content and the revenues are theirs.
Visit  Medium or follow them on Twitter

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