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What the F*@# is Medium?!

 MediumHave you ever heard of Biz Stone and Evan Williams?

Apparently they made that Twitter thing with some other guy. And before that, they had something to do with blogging. Good for them.

However, they got sick of Twitter and left. I like to imagine they left because people started spending too much time using it to bitch about crappy customer service at McDonald’s instead of sharing useful information.

So while they were in seclusion, they went ahead and made a new digital publishing thing called Medium. Apparently, we really needed one more third-party owned network to publish our deepest thoughts and desires.

But what the hell is Medium?

Right now, none of us have a true idea what Medium is. While many people have signed up, it hasn’t been opened up widely yet. The few examples that have been shared combine collections of writing or images. Nothing that hasn’t been done before.

But, I think there are more than enough clues as to what it really is.

Consider that media is the plural of medium.  Right now, digital publishing is best suited in one medium at a time.

  • We blog one post at a time to express ideas.
  • We share photos in albums.
  • We post videos to YouTube.

See what I’m getting at? The individual medium is not connected into a cohesive format. Digital publishing, which has the ability to combine these formats into a cohesive model, has yet to do so.

The media has not become a medium. We’ve failed at creating cohesive digital formats.

Dont believe me? Look at a Twitter picture. The picture isn’t tied into the message. It’s a separate link. Is this really the optimal way to share information in an age when a phone can do more than some laptops?

The way I see it right now, Medium looks to correct that by building a platforms that successfully combines different types of media. This brings out a whole host of ideas about how we consume and create content.

So, is Medium the future of digital publishing? Will it change how we read, write, and absorb information? I don’t know yet. But I think they’re on to something that hasn’t been fully thought out yet by us mere mortals.

Have you signed up for Medium? What the hell do you expect it to be?

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6 Responses to What the F*@# is Medium?!

  1. MorganBarnhart September 4, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    Medium kind of reminds me of Pinterest mixed with a WordPress theme I saw this one time. I clicked through some of the “collections” and while they keep boasting that people haven’t found a great way to publish online, I disagree. I really don’t like the view or the format of the ‘collections’. It’s a bit jarring and while it may introduce me to something new, I don’t see that it’s introducing pics, with writing, with video. The mediums are all still separated. You’re still going into the ‘writing’ collection and then the ‘art’ collection, and I have yet to see any video.I signed up and I’d love to check it out, but I’m really on the fence with how this is going to be more effective, than, say, a blog. 

    • JayDolan September 4, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

       @MorganBarnhart I’m really curious as to how it plays out on a tablet. Every since I got my dirty little hands on an iPad, I see how the future of computing is changing to me more touchable.
       
      I think this is where it could shine.

  2. Alenrybi September 4, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    Linguistically speaking, it’s vice versa, ‘media’ is actually a plural form of ‘medium’.

    • JayDolan September 4, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

       @Alenrybi I knew it. I failed at my own language once again.

  3. four_sides September 5, 2012 at 12:52 am #

    I had a different take on Medium, which is an extension of another product they backed/helped create, Branch (branchapp.com)
     
    If you read their introductory blog post, they mention how there are a lot of places to create content, but not enough quality content. Tumblr is a site that already allows you to post a picture with text or video with text, or just one or the other. The problem (in their view) is that people only view their site when creating, or reblog something someone else has done. There is no real building upon an idea. There are extensions of ideas (i.e. memes exploding in popularity) but no shared experiences. 
     
    With Medium, the individual pieces aren’t what matters. It’s the shared collection that matters. People read one person’s story, video, picture, and want to share their own story/video/picture with that collection. 
     
    With Branch, the individual message isn’t what matters, but the “branch” of curated conversation. You don’t refer to one item from a branch, but the entire branch. 
     
    In a way, it’s like Pinterest, because people create their own collections there, but most often there’s nothing meaningful behind each collection. It’s just an easy way to organize our own thoughts. So Medium takes the visual style of Pinterest, but allows people to create shared collections. 
     
    The main thing that helped clue me into this is what happens when you click the author’s name. On every other site on the Net, it takes you to a profile page which has information about the author and other items they’ve created on the site. On Medium, it takes you to the Twitter profile (go figure, really). Right now, there’s no way to discover what other authors have written, just explore other ideas more thoroughly. 
     
    Of course, this is only the alpha release, and who knows if this is going to change in the future. To me, Branch is a much more appealing service, like Quora but you invite people into the conversation, and make it public or not. I see a service like that being more valuable and replacing email. But why would I share a piece of writing on Medium instead of my own site? That’s the biggest question facing Medium, and one I don’t see a clear answer for. 

  4. LarissaMillerr September 25, 2012 at 4:23 am #

    I enjoyed to work @JayDolan Pinterest, it’s lets organize and share all the beautiful things that we find on the web. Pinterest ‘ve given me things to consider and goals for my blog.