A few weeks ago, I read this post in Fast Company, one of my favorite online publications. Apparently Evan Williams, one of the co-founders of Twitter, and Evan Hansen, a former Wired editor, formed a partnership to change the way that content is promoted on the web. When you think about the way the social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter work in terms of your news feeds, the newest content always shows up at the top of your feed. As a blogger trying to share out content, this has always been problematic, particularly with Twitter. If you don't share a link at just the right time, chances are pretty good that the majority of your audience will never see it as the feed populates with newer content rapidly pushing your post further and further down in the feed.
In the Fast Company article, Evans posed, "The reward structure as we have it now encourages high-frequency, low-cost content chasing pageviews and unique visitors rather than investing in a single article--a dilemma poignantly articulated by Atlantic editor Alexis C. Madrigal back in March."
Medium, their new collaborative blogging platform that is still in beta, has adopted a more Reddit-style upvoting system. At the bottom of each post there is a button for you to click if you recommend the post (no this does not "retweet" or post to any of your social media sites).
Then when you go to the homepage feed, the posts are presented in order of the most recommended as opposed to the most recent posts.
Why use Medium as your blog platform?
Williams gives three reasons for this:
- Medium lets you focus on your words.
- Medium is collaborative
- Medium helps you find your audience
I was certainly intrigued, so yesterday I wrote my first post entitled What it Means to be a Connected Educator. Click through on the image above to read more if you are interested in contributing to Medium.
My Two Cents
As Evan claims, Medium is a beautiful space for reading and writing. There are no widgets, sidebars or plug-ins. It is also one of the easiest writing platforms that I have used. It feels a little like the Mac computer of blogs. Steve Jobs would be proud. Last night, one of my Twitter "friends" who read my post confessed that he uses Medium and has several drafts that he hasn't posted just because he likes writing on the platform so much.
When you start a post, you add it to a collection of similar posts. There are still some bugs to work out with this, so I would recommend that you create your own collection for your posts. It is easy to do. You can always add your post to additional collections later.
I have found that in just 24 hours, my post on Medium has reached a wider audience than it would have had I posted it on this blog. That being said, in order for it to stay relevant, readers have to make it relevant by recommending it so that it stays high enough in the feed to be read by visitors to the home page. Though the idea of competitive blogging takes me a little out of my comfort zone, I do believe that it forces you to write better content. I also like that you can blog whenever you want on Medium due to the collaborative nature of the platform. People don't go to Medium to read my posts on education; they go to Medium to expose themselves to great content on a myriad of topics regardless of the author. For example, yesterday, I read this great post by Austin Kleon (love Steal Like an Artist) called Shut up and write the book! but then I read an equally great post by Raymond Duke (no idea who he is) entitled You are Completely Full of Sit.
Reading Medium is like reading your favorite magazine with out any of the adds or subscription inserts. Give it a try. If you like what you read, go ahead and click that green button. :-)