The “Highlighted” Section of Medium is Super Powerful

We are living in a sharing economy. We are moving away from ownership and more towards accessibility. The more we share, the more there is to access.

Medium, the platform you’re reading this article on right now, has a highlight feature. You’re able to highlight any portion of any article you read or write on their platform. The writer is informed when someone highlights a portion of their article. Also, you as the “highlighter” are able to access any and all content you’ve highlighted in a centralized area. These highlighted portions of text are organized by their origin; author, article and date.

If you’re on a laptop you can access this area by clicking on your profile picture in the upper right hand corner. Select “Profile” from the drop down menu. Right below your bio you’ll see a “highlighted by Person X” area. If you select “See more” you’ll be able to see every piece of content you’ve ever highlighted.

Why is this cool?

  1. You now have access to everything you’ve ever highlighted on Medium in one centralized area. This acts as a repository of everything you’ve ever thought was worth highlighting. Imagine being able to scan through every highlighted portion of every article you’ve ever read from anywhere with an internet connection?
  2. Eventually, you’ll be able to see people you follow’s highlights. Although not currently a feature on Medium, it is inevitable, as the more we share with other people on a given platform, the more power that platform gains. Imagine how great it would be to see what Jason Fried, Gary Vaynerchuck, James Altucher, or Seth Godin have highlighted over the course of their lives. Imagine a day when one might actually pay real dollars to gain access to another person’s highlights. How much would you pay to see every piece of content a given person (who is willing to share) has highlighted in their life?
  3. In the future, rather than being known for your writing on Medium, you may become known and gain a following for your the content you highlight. Why spend time reading the full article when I could simply read my trusted compadre’s highlights?
  4. There are many other reasons, however it’s getting late and I need to get rest. Perhaps I’ll talk about them another time.

The more we highlight, the more the platform will understand what we deem important to ourselves. That being so, Medium will be able to offer even more personalized recommendations of what specific articles we should read. With enough users highlighting content everyday and a solid AI there may be a day when Medium is able to show us personalized highlights of an article (the content we would’ve highlighted, if we had the read the article) before we even read it, based off what we had highlighted ourselves in the past.

All in all, as someone new to the platform Medium, I am very happy to see that the developers at Medium are not only thinking about these things, but implementing these features into their core product for us to take advantage.