Highlights have come to the Medium app — this is going to be big.

I rarely weigh in on this stuff because of the obvious appearance of a conflict but I’m going to come out and say highlighting is going to be a ubiquitous feature very soon in networked reading environments like Medium, in other words, all of the reading environments that are going to matter in the next few years. Pages that don’t allow and reveal shared highlights are going to feel like screens that don’t support multitouch, in the sense that anyone used to interacting in the new enhanced mode is going to reflexively expect it in legacy devices because it is just that intuitive and “normal”; and they will experience environments that don’t support this feature as fundamentally broken.

Highlights are among my absolute favorite interactions on Medium fulfilling three core demands: 1) low touch (interaction occurs in under 1 second); 2) adds immediate value for everyone — the highlighter, the general reader, the author and the highlighted content itself; 3) it adds exponential value as the size of the network and the number of highlights increases.

Highlights help make explicit the network proposition of Medium, which is not obvious to everyone at this stage, particularly if you have few followers. Medium is far more than a pretty CMS, it is a new kind of social network that’s galvanizing around writing and reading, in support of a style of content that so far has not crossed over to a tightly integrated networked experience.

Since mobile is where most content consumption is going to happen, putting highlights on the phone is a big deal. The Medium app just got way more interesting.

(P.S. I wrote this on my phone.)