I love Medium. Maybe it’s just the clean layout and attractive fonts that make almost every user-created slice of content seem like an insightful thinkpiece from a glossy magazine. Maybe it’s the fact that people put up soul-baring stories or anonymous relationship insights. Maybe it’s because interesting entrepreneurial types share their hopes and fears.
Of course there are entrepreneurs here. It’s a new technology, a shiny bauble to toy with. It’s also the product of Twitter’s co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams. I guess after creating a platform known for its brevity they wanted to try the exact opposite? But then Williams invented Blogger (both the platform and the term), so maybe he just wanted to finish what he started, or change it, or push it in a better direction.
“It turns out the Internet, like every other technology, doesn’t trend toward good or bad. It is just a convenience machine for what people want,” he said. “Television was going to make us all better people, smarter and better educated, but people ended up sitting back and watching sitcoms. We want to create something that rewards other things that have more lasting value.” – Evan Williams [source]
Lots of people talk about why Medium is great for writers generally, and trans writers in particular with its effective ways of diminishing harassment. I can’t comment on that. I’m still only a passive participant. I haven’t even left a comment. But the toolset is seductively streamlined so I think sticking a few things up there is inevitable.
It’s built with thoughtfulness in mind. Just look at the writing prompts. In my mind a writing prompt is a sentence or a paragraph that gives you a question or two to answer. On Medium a writing prompt has responses from writers, quotes, pictures, a whole host of ways to be inspired. And hey, you even have people like Matthew McConaughey give muddled inspirational screeds delivered right to your feed if that helps you put something out there.
There are obvious drawbacks – publishing regularly on a content platform instead of your site can have no SEO benefit. But the pros might outweigh the cons: a built-in audience, automatically readable-looking articles, a simple interface, a wealth of social interaction.