“A founder of Twitter goes long,” says the headline – in reference to the posts being published on Medium, which can run to hundreds of words.It is the polar opposite of Twitter, where you can tweet only up to 140 characters at a time.
— Simon & Schuster (@simonschuster) November 9, 2013
One could say Williams is going back to his original vision, Blogger, which he launched in 1999 and which was acquired by Google in 2003, where one can blog posts of any length.
Medium is free to use like Blogger. You can write on it free of charge. Just sign in with Twitter and verify your email address.
So should you start blogging on Medium?
Matt Richtel, writing about Medium in The New York Times, raises a more fundamental question:
Should you be writing long posts?
Mobile devices like smartphones are becoming the primary way of communicating for more people, he notes. And they tend to work best for short bursts of information , he adds, not long posts.
But as Evan Williams says on the Medium welcome page: “We love tweets as much as the next person (probably more), but sometimes we long for something meatier.”
People still blog. So don’t let the popularity of Facebook-friendly (and less blog-friendly) smartphones dissuade you from blogging or writing. If you have got the itch, go ahead. You may enjoy writing and reading your posts.
The question is, should you be blogging on Medium?
I have been visiting the website ever since it was launched, when it published posts only by writers invited to write on it. And I have tried writing and publishing on it myself.
It is easy to write on Medium. As you write, you see exactly how your post will look once it’s published.
You can publish and delete your posts with the click of a button.
You can also share your draft post with friends for feedback before publishing – click the “Share draft” button.
To format the text – bold, italicize, blockquote – just click the right button on the toggle toolbar. You have to highlight the text to see the toolbar.
You can also embed videos and tweets.
And, of course, you can add images.
There is a word counter too to tell you how many words you have written.
Medium is easy to use and makes your posts look beautiful. Images can be as wide as the page, so you can have stunning horizontal pictures. The white pages with black text look neat and clean. The typeface is big, beautiful and legible. The large black type on the clean white page makes you focus on the words, which is what a writer wants – attention. And accompanying the post is a picture of the writer – the picture he or she used on Twitter. Remember, you need a Twitter account to post on Medium.
You can publish your posts in collections such as “Freelance Life”, “Sports Page” and “New Media” where they can be read by people who may not know you but are interested in those subjects. So posting on Medium may help you find new readers.
You need a Twitter account to post on Medium.
You can’t post from your phone or tablet yet though Medium says, “We are working on it.”
Formatting choices are limited. You can’t change font, colour or create a table, for example.
You can’t have your custom domain at the moment.
You have to visit the Medium website and go to your profile, which links to your posts.
Bloggers won’t like that when they can have their own blogs on Blogger and WordPress.com for free. They are also easy to use and can look good.
I don’t see any advantages in blogging on Medium at the moment unless you are a freelance writer wanting to expand your reach, go beyond your usual audience.
But I do believe Medium will offer more options and become more useful in the future.
Evan Williams certainly has the knowhow and the resources to make Medium better.
He was already a millionaire before Twitter went public and is now estimated to be worth more than $2 billion as Twitter’s biggest individual shareholder.
He is backing Medium along with two business partners, Biz Stone and Jason Goldman, both formerly of Twitter.
The Twitter veterans have included social media elements in Medium.
Each published post has a Recommend button like a Facebook button. Next to the Recommend button are pictures of people who have recommended the post. Click on the pictures and you will be taken to their profile pages where you will see what they themselves have written.
So Medium may help you connect with people whose ideas and opinions you like.
That is its goal, says Evan Williams, in his post, “What we’re trying to do with Medium.” He writes:
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… 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…
Unlike a blog, Medium gives you context into which to share your ideas—e.g., if you’ve got thoughts on product design, a crazy story about something that happened to you, or (to go meta) ideas for Medium itself, we have a place for that where those interested are most likely to find it…
Medium is not obsessed with the new. Things are not reverse-chronologically sorted by default. And you won’t have to post “Apologies for not posting in a while…” every time you get too busy to post for a couple months.
So you don’t have to post frequently, only when the inspiration comes – and let Medium take care of the rest. The friendly, easy blogging platform makes writing and publishing a dream and helps every post look beautiful .
You may notice that collections on Medium are by default sorted by “Recommended.”
Apparently a secret algorithm is at work to spot the most interesting posts and bring them to a wider audience.
See for yourself if this is the medium for you.