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Twitter’s co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone launched Twitter Co-Founders Launch Private Publishing Platform, But Will It Take Off? [Updates] Twitter Co-Founders Launch Private Publishing Platform, But Will It Take Off? [Updates] It doesn't come as much of a surprise that the Twitter founders have decided to build a new publishing platform, after all, Twitter itself is a publishing platform, albeit limited to 140 character posts. Medium,... Read More their own blogging platform, Medium, about a year ago. When it first launched, we asked ourselves if it would take off or not, and it’s still a bit difficult to answer the question. In its closed beta phase, you can sign up and begin reading content posted on Medium straight away, you can’t start posting until you’re granted access. The roll out for access has been a slow-going process, and in some cases, has taken at least a year for users to get posting privileges.

The founders say that the aim is to “re-imagine” publishing, by allowing users to choose the level of collaboration they prefer. It essentially means users can post their own content, but also share them with everyone else in public collections, as similar ideas shared in such collections help deepen awareness. Think of it as Flickr Groups for blog posts. So does Medium live up to the founder’s hype an year after its launch? We find out.

How to Post

Once you have posting privileges, you’ll find a new green button in the bottom left-hand corner to create new posts on the Medium home page.

Medium - New Post

When you click on the button, you’ll find a very simplified WYSIWYG backend to create your post. You can choose a title, an optional subtitle, and enter the content for your post. You can also add an optional featured photo which will be included at the top of the post. You can also include an optional photo credit or caption. You can save your posts as drafts and come back to them later, or if you don’t want to publish…delete your posts.

Medium - New Post 2

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Medium does not have an extensive formatting menu, but it covers all the basic requirements with a simple toolbar and keyboard shortcuts, then gets out of the way.

You can also create a new collection. When creating a new collection, you have the choice of allowing anyone to contribute to the collection (the default setting). Also, instead of making it open for all, you can keep it invite only. One thing to bear in mind when creating collections is that the collection name must be between 8 and 140 characters, should be of at least two words, and you have to upload an image for some visual appeal. Here are some collections to give you an idea.

User profile pages feature the posts you’ve created, collections you’ve created or contributed to, as well as posts you have recommended, but more on that later.

How to Consume Content

If you don’t have access to posting on Medium, you can still consume content, recommend articles to other users, and add them to your reading list. When reading a blog post, you can add the piece to your private reading list by clicking the small bookmark icon that says Add to reading list.

Add to reading list

If you want the post to appear on your profile as a recommended read for others to read, you’ll have to hit the Recommend button at the bottom of the post. You can also share the post on Twitter and Facebook. Here, you can also see the collections the piece is posted in, and if you have posting privileges and have created your own collections, you can actually add someone else’s post to your own collections.

Medium Recommend

A suggested Next Read will be included at the bottom of each post, making it possible to surf from one blog writer to another.

What You Can Use Medium For

Medium focuses entirely on being a content platform for writers. It’s a great platform if what you want to focus on is your writing and nothing more. Featured images on blog posts are optional, but adding one certainly does add a bit of flair to your blog. That said, you can also use Medium to share your photos. You can create a mini portfolio for example, or possibly even use Medium to create a 365 day life log project of your photos The Days Of Our Life: How To Lifelog Online With Photos And Videos The Days Of Our Life: How To Lifelog Online With Photos And Videos Photos or videos are the ideal way to document specific moments in your day, and there are several apps and sites that cater to that exact need. At the end of a year of documentation,... Read More , posting one photo a day. Here is an interesting blog post around photography.

Conclusion

Medium takes a different approach to the way that posts are organized on the site. While you can easily share your own profile page where all of your content is posted, a key feature that Medium brings to the table is crowd-sourced collections. Not only can you add your content to any collection that is open to submission without invitation, you can add other users’ content to your own collection without their explicit approval. This ability to create collections with content by other users across the board is one that stands out from other blogging platforms. The feature makes it possible to ensure that your content goes far beyond your own profile page, and ensures extra exposure.

When it comes to consuming content, the ‘suggested next read’ makes Medium a great way to discover new content, simply by surfing from one article to the next.

Overall, the Medium experience is solid. It doesn’t bring extra bells and whistles found in other blogging platforms — there are no plugins, no comments and no analytics. While these may be dealbreakers for some bloggers, Medium brings a refreshing change to how content can be shared in an uncluttered reading environment. For now in the beta phase, you might not get instant access to write your own posts, but Medium has quite a storehouse of quality articles.

Then again, if you don’t have posting privileges just yet on Medium but want a minimal blogging platform as a stop-gap, be sure to check out the equally minimalist blogging platform called Roon Roon Is A Slick, Easy-To-Use Blogging Platform You May Want to Try Roon Is A Slick, Easy-To-Use Blogging Platform You May Want to Try While WordPress, Blogger and Tumblr dominate the blogging scene, there are a few minimalist platforms that strip down the blogging experience to focus entirely on simply sharing your writing. Roon keeps things simple, all blogs... Read More  which I reviewed a month back .

What do you think of Medium? Do you prefer the no-hassle minimalism which many blogging platforms are bringing to the writing scene? Let us know in the comments.

Image Credit: jdhancockt

  1. Michael
    November 3, 2013 at 11:13 am

    I wouldn't be keen on requiring someone to be a twitter user (or sign up anywhere else) before they can post a comment (guessing that might be the case).

    centralised services won't offer what running your own site can offer
    and tend to look rather lacking compared to platforms offering proper federation.

    the fact that twitter seems to be blocking posting via their api lately (meaning I am no longer able to crosspost to there from here using my twitter account when I post to my own site)
    just makes me use twitter less often and tell people who want to "follow" to do it on federated networks like friendica, statusnet, diaspora or pump.io .

    • Nancy
      November 17, 2013 at 12:18 am

      When it comes to commenting - that feature isn't actually included in Medium. You can't leave comments. I do agree, however, that having to use Twitter to sign up for Medium isn't ideal - but it's also not surprising. Since it's from the creators of Twitter - they're going to try to connect the two services. It's not all that different from how Google has really been trying to push Google+ integration with it's other services.

  2. Tom Nadolski
    August 27, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Great review. It will be interesting to see if any of the new platforms that are coming out can take bloggers away from where they are now, which for most of them is Tumblr and WordPress. We have a new platform as well which is called Glipho.com; its a blogging platform built on top of a social networking site. The goal of Glipho is to help bloggers find other people who share their interests but are outside of their current social networks. SETT.com is another platform that sounds like it will be similar to ours but, like Medium, its not fully up and running yet. The last new one I know about is Ghost which is taking a simplify, simplify approach like Medium.

  3. Jason
    August 24, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    Medium probably won't be a hit like Twitter was. There is too much competition when it comes to blogging platforms, but this one might be successful. Twitter offered instant gratification, this offers the same amount of thinking as other blog platforms.

    • Nancy Messieh
      August 24, 2013 at 11:09 pm

      I agree it's definitely a crowded and competitive space - the problem is it's hard to know how successful Medium might be until it's completely open to the public - although that might be an effort on their part to make it more in-demand.

  4. Cean L
    August 23, 2013 at 6:48 am

    Well, if you don't have a Twitter account I suggest you use another minimalistic blogging platform called Postagon.

  5. Carl Hoffman
    August 23, 2013 at 1:02 am

    I went to the "medium" website. It looks real nice, however ...
    If you go to "About Medium" it says, "Medium is a new place on the Internet where people share ideas and stories that are longer than 140 characters and not just for friends."
    YET YOU CANNOT CREATE AN ACCOUNT UNLESS YOU HAVE A TWITTER ACCOUNT -- this is crazy!

  6. Reza G
    August 22, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    Lots of good things about Medium and also how it is minimalistic yet powerful enough but got to say I love WordPress too much to use others options too extensively

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