RE-THINKING CODE + CONTENT: Twitter Founders launch MEDIUM
“The Medium is The Message” - Not to get all ‘McLuhan’, but the words of the wise Canadian media maven and educator Marshall McLuhan from 1964 still hold true: the medium influences how the message is perceived. And with (mobile) media devices exploding and vying for attention - the message gets increasingly lost.
» Enter: MEDIUM. The appropriately titled new brainchild of Evan Williams and Biz Stone was unveiled yesterday and is an attempt to elevate quality content by “re-thinking publishing and starting a new platform from scratch” - as Williams writes in the introduction post. “Lots of services have successfully lowered the bar for sharing information, but there’s been less progress toward raising the quality of what’s produced.”
So, what exactly is Medium - and why do we need yet another blogging platform? The design reminds on a minimalist Tumblr or WordPress theme mixed with the picture-grid style of Pinterest. Posts are organized into collections to keep content structured. Posts can be photos (When I was A Child / Been There Loved That), words (Writers’s Room) or a combination (Look What I Made) and are structured in order of popularity (think Reddit or Digg). People sign up with their Twitter account, making Stone’s and William’s older offspring an integral part of the family.
So all in all it doesn’t yet look so drastically new, rather like a good remix of the best functions that have emerged on other platforms. But Medium takes off where others fall flat: Tumblr is brilliant for bookmarking and sharing but still misses out on context and discovery of the really good stuff. Reddit misses the creation part and Pinterest the text element. Medium seems to combine these features purposefully into a simple design and targets people who care about the conversation, rather than the pure traffic counter.
And after all it is the pedigree of the creators and supporters that suggests we’re in for something bigger. With Twitter’s rigid 140 character structure, Williams and Stone (+ Jack Dorsey) helped create a new form of punctuated conversation - without the burden of writing entire blog posts. Now they seem to pick up on the changes and learnings in communication behavior and put some method to the madness of information overload. Medium is an evolutionary leap, “based on everything we’ve learned in the last 13 years and the needs of today’s world,” says Williams in the post.
“When you consider we’ve been publishing on paper for over 500 years and on the Internet for only a couple decades, it’s no surprise we haven’t figured it all out. It’s still early days… We will grow Medium smartly, ensuring that our platform is valuable to everyone in this increasingly mobile, connected, and noisy world.”
At SXSW, Biz Stone recently recalled the early days of Twitter as a side project after their vision to become “the kings of podcasting” with Odeo fell short (“Apple decided to put podcasting into iTunes which turns out was a good place for it.”)
Let’s see what material Medium will add to the story.
- daretoask posted this