Mr. Gruber writes:
I still don’t get what Medium is.
I believe Medium is slightly insidious. Medium is a land-grab. I think it’s an attempt to lock up the “serious” online writing space. It entices authors with a handsome, low-commitment tool for writing which is easier than maintaining a blog or a hosting a website full of articles. It’s more “serious” and less “fun” than Tumblr. WordPress (the hosted and self-hosted varieties) hovers in between a full content management system and a blogging engine. Unless you have a skilled designer/developer in your pocket, WordPress sites are usually ugly and lack good community or promotional features. Medium looks great (with no work on the part of the author), it looks serious, and does a good job of promoting content through collections, recommendations, Twitter feeds, RSS feeds, and social media features.
Medium’s goal (I believe) is to become the default location on the web for people to find long-form articles, much like Twitter is the default chat room for the internet.
Why is this insidious? Medium presents itself like a social media site focused on long-form writing. Most “content” on social media web sites is worthless. Facebook posts are drivel; Tweets are mostly noise. But Medium is attracting writers who can produce things of quality and lasting value. Anything you contribute to a social media site (links, comments, pluses, likes, up-votes) only serves to make that social media site more valuable to its audience. The more friends and family you have on Facebook the more valuable Facebook is. The more funny cat pictures on Reddit, the more Reddit-y it is. When an author writes something for Medium, that author is giving away their work and their audience for almost nothing while making Medium a better, richer site. This means Medium can slowly become the news, opinion, and editorial source for the web, without paying journalists or writers.
Medium’s aesthetic lends a lot of credibility to the writing hosted there. Medium has a lot of good content, but a lot of it is pretty inane. However, it doesn’t look inane because Medium presents writing so well. ↩
Sure, you might get some followers and some notoriety on Medium, but you can’t host ads on Medium. There’s not a clear way for a good writer to make a living using Medium. ↩