In my books, noted below, I often lament about the lack of civility, deterioration of written communication and abuse of the power of the Internet. One of the few bright spots on the web for netizens. Instead of an overburdening of multi - media raining now upon a reader, Medium seeks to provide full, thoughtful and prosaically stylistically simple presentation, the site focuses on compelling content.
Enjoy the article and check out the website!
Inside Medium: an attempt to bring civility to the internet
We're told our attention spans are short. That we cannot focus on anything beyond 140 characters, or without lists accentuated by quirky reaction gifs.
And yet Medium somehow manages to fend off this trend - encouraging the construction of a coherent argument via, primarily, long-form writing. The site is not built to reward clicks, but reads - and in doing so has fostered a different kind of community. It's almost… nice.
Almost entirely organically, Medium has become an outlet for people who already have the biggest audiences in the world. Think Bill Gates, Bono and even President Obama, who posted his State of the Union address on Medium, in full, before he delivered it to Congress.
And when a high-flying Amazon exec wanted to reignite a spat with the New York Times, he did so on Medium — despite Amazon's owner, Jeff Bezos, owning the legendary Washington Post. The Times, incidentally, responded on Medium.
"What we're trying to do is create the default place to write and publish anything of substance that you want the world to see," says Evan Williams, Medium's founder and chief executive.
Williams' office, just off San Francisco's Market Street, overlooks a city full of people desperately seeking the next idea that makes it big.
Williams has had three.
First, Blogger - a platform, eventually bought by Google, that was largely responsible for bringing us the verb "to blog".
Then came Twitter, which he co-founded in 2006 along with with Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone and Noah Glass. It's a site that has become synonymous with everything that is good, bad, hilarious and miserable on the web. Its verb: "to tweet".
Medium doesn't have a verb, yet. But it is going places. At the tail-end of 2015, more than two million posts had been published - a feat that's only impressive when you consider Medium posts, on the whole, are long. by the company concluded that a post that takes seven minutes to read gathers the most attention.
On the internet, seven minutes is eons.
"The truth is people still read," Williams tells me. "All day long."
Getting out of the soundbite world
Right now, people are reading about politics. Several of the Presidential candidates have a presence on Medium, seeing it as a way of sharing policy beyond what they can shout during television debates.
"There's a need for more substantive thought and commentary, from whoever has to offer it," Williams says.
"We're trying to raise the level of discourse and get out of the soundbite world, for people who really care about what's going on."
Much of that commentary comes from media organisations, many of which have flocked to Medium despite having substantial web properties of their own.
Medium helps this happen: as well as a personal profile, Medium offers the creation of Publications - curated spaces that resemble homepages rather than blogs. With these, the news business is finding a captive and enthusiastic audience on Medium.
Somewhat oddly, companies usually extremely guarded about their own editorial product are simply giving it away to Medium - though that's about to change.
"We're building monetisation into the product right now," says Williams, predicting a roll-out of the features within a month or so.
"We're not limiting ourselves to advertising," he says, stressing that Medium won't become a mess of banner ads but instead "sponsored" content.
"I also think there's a lot of potential for premium or subscription or even user-paid content. Some sort of paywall or membership."
While text will remain the focus, Williams is also thinking about expanding into other online content - such as video and podcasts.
Williams predicts, and is banking on, a time when it'll be largely pointless for media companies to build and maintain their own online spaces.
"I think publishers who are experimenting with Medium are seeing a world where it's not about having a website.
"There are not going to be tens of millions of websites that lots of people go to every day.
"If you're a quality journalist or content creator, I think you can find an audience, I think you can find engagement, and I think you can find money."======================= For a great satire on email, please see the following:
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