I have been blogging for a long time. Nine years, to be exact. I will even shamelessly share one of my very first posts: an in-depth review of a Snoop Doggy Dogg concert in May 2005. (Full disclosure: many of the posts on that blog are crap and full of mistakes and immature opinions, but I’m not ashamed of where I came from and we all gotta start somewhere.) Since those days I’ve started and killed many a blog, and several companies have even paid me to blog for them. Imagine that!
Just like my blogging skills, the act of blogging itself has come a long way. What began as not much more than angsty teen rants has morphed into a viable way for writers and wannabes to build influence, drive business and even make money by publishing their words on their weblogs.
Medium: a new kind of blogging platform
Many blogging platforms have emerged over the years, from the one I first used (Blogspot) to WordPress to a brand new one I discovered just the other day called Medium (thanks to this post that appeared in my Facebook feed).
From the minds who brought you Blogger and Twitter, Medium launched back in August 2012, and co-creator Ev Williams calls it “the best writing tool on the web” where you’ll find “little stories and manifestos that change the world”. The site itself looks slick, with the words front and centre, and no clutter in sight. It was designed to highlight words rather than images and to be an incredibly simple publishing tool. You can even collaborate with other users who can leave feedback on your pieces (you control who sees what).
What’s different about Medium?
I haven’t used it to write anything just yet, but I’ve created an account and poked around a bit and I do really like the simplicity of the interface, and the fact that some pretty big names in the startup world are using it to post their thoughts. I have yet to come across any big name writers but I don’t see a search feature that lets you look for them. Other unique features:
- Posts are organized according to topic (called ‘Collections’), not author, which helps posts gain more traction and get seen by a bigger audience
- You can choose which Collections of posts you want to follow, and even start a new one (some I’ve followed are Editor’s Picks, On Publishing, and Pop of Culture)
- It uses a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) interface that looks no different than the published page (aka no confusing widgets to manage)
- As a registered user, you can recommend posts you like and leave feedback for other writers
- Each post title notes the length of time required to read the post
- The site is like a living organism with tons of contributors that keep it alive even if you haven’t posted in a long time, which removes the risk of your blog losing its audience and ‘dying’ after you haven’t touched it in a while
- The platform is experimenting with paying some writers, and asks for professional, experienced writers to pitch stories to firstname.lastname@example.org
One of my resolutions for 2014 is to write more for creative expression, so this will be a great tool for that. Check it out and let me know what you think!