Medium is one of Ev Williams newest ventures – you know, that guy behind Blogger and Twitter, among other things, and it’s an online publishing system that’s already presenting some very innovative perspectives and implementations for both the end user/reader as well as the publisher.
Why do something like this? Williams’ shares a few thoughts about the genesis:
The ethos behind Medium is one of openness and democracy—like the Internet itself. Eventually we’ll be opening so anyone can post and create collections. But that’s not all…
The beauty of the Internet is it allows anyone to put their thoughts out there and potentially be heard. But breaking through the noise is not easy. Whole public companies have been created to arbitrage attention online with the cheapest content possible.
Knowing these kinds of tricks, building up a large following over years, and/or being hooked into the right social network is as important (or more so) than having something great to say and saying it well if you want to impact and influence today.
It is our goal that content reaches its right audience on Medium more quickly and efficiently than it would on isolated islands on the web—no matter who it’s from.
This was first posted in October 25 of last year and they have continued to execute and invite more publishers into the closed system over time – so far, I’m loving everything I’m seeing from the simplicity of the presentational layer to the focus on great content.
And now it’s getting even better and in a recent newsletter to existing publishers they outline some new core motives that have got me really thinking.
As one of our partners, Chris, commented:
Blog posts are out, articles are in. Medium let’s it be known that the future of online publishing hinges on old content getting better over time via private, 1-to-1 dialogue, and not public collaboration (comment threads!) which sometimes translate to publicly shaming the author (flame wars!).
Also, they call the new feature that encourages this interaction… Notes.
I think he summed it best. Here’s the official full text of the newsletter – chew on this for a bit WordPress:
Dear Friend of Medium,
You’re receiving this email because you’re on the early beta list of people who can create content on Medium. Occasionally, we’ll release new features to this group to get feedback before we continue to iterate on the feature. We’re doing that today with a new feature that we’re really excited about called ‘Notes.’
From Jessica Collier’s post in the Medium Ideas collection: “We all want to sound like the smartest versions of ourselves, and we all want to read better writing online.” This really resonates with us, and we think that the ‘Notes’ feature will help everyone become a better writer, and subsequently improve the reader’s experience.
Here’s how it works:
NOTE: All aspects of the feature are only visible for people on the early beta list.
If you’re reading a post on Medium and you want to provide feedback to the author, move your cursor over the section of text you’d like to comment on. You’ll see a little plus appear to the right of the text. Click the plus, type your note and hit return. Only you and the author will see your note in the sidebar. The author of the post will receive an email with the note’s content and a link to the post. The author can then decide whether to Reply, Make public, or Hide the note. If the author makes the note public, anyone on our early beta list will be able to see and comment on the note. Here’s an example of notes in action:
Known issues that we’re working on:
- You’ll only see the Notes icons when your browser window is fairly wide (> 1200px).
- You can delete a note by erasing the content and hitting return, but replies to notes are currently not editable.
- The Notes icon will only show up on posts from the last few weeks. Older posts will work soon.
New Site Design
Yesterday, we released a newly designed Medium and we’re thrilled with the feedback we’ve gotten so far. We hope you love it as much as we do!
If you’ve created collections, there’s a chance that the main collection image doesn’t look as amazing as it should, as we’re now featuring larger versions of these images. We’d greatly appreciate it if you’d take a few minutes to update your collection images if they look grainy or stretched. The minimum size that will look great is 900×900 and there’s more info here on how to swap the image.
Please send any feedback or bug reports to [email protected]
Here are some full-screens of what this is looking like:
You can see the comments that Chris has made on the right.
To think that long-form is going to come back as well as hyper-team editing as well as a focus on evergreening content is sweet. I think there’s a lot that WordPress can learn from what Ev and his team are doing over at Medium and it’s worth taking notes, literally.
I can’t wait to get my own personal access instead of riding on top of Chris’ account, but until then I’ll just occasionally steal his password so I can keep trying it out.