These are some other reasons why I believe highlights are relevant:[1]

1. Content discovery

Catchy titles are deceptive. They aim at generating clicks and page views. Instead, highlights go straight to the point and spark interest. They invite you to learn more or understand the context behind a quote.

2. Extensions of our memory

People love to save and share the quotes they like. The blogging world is infinite. Being able to save what we like about it is pretty cool.

3. Curating tool

In an era of cognitive surplus, highlights save us time. They allow us to skim through the most important fragments other people found relevant. If we find something interesting then we can dive in and read the whole thing.

4. Valuable data

Highlights show what makes people tick. What people like or find interesting about a post or essay. It’s people saying: “This is what I care about, agree or disagree with”. Data scientists might exploit this later on. Advertisers might start to drool here.

5. Scribo, ergo sum

Highlights are how people may be remembered. Everybody remembers Einstein, Nietzsche, Gandhi or Shakespeare. But most people never read their books, they just know their quotes. Wouldn’t it be awesome that every person on earth had two or three quotes to be remembered by?

Challenges

Storage and organization.

How will we organize and access those highlights? Will it be tags again? What is more important, organizing posts, organizing highlights or both?

Privacy.

Will Medium or other platforms exploit the data I give away by highlighting? What if I want to keep my highlights for myself? We are already advertising targets in every social network we use.

Fragmentation.

Medium is a super closed platform. Likewise, I cannot find in Medium lots of good content I read elsewhere. What if I don’t want my highlights stored on many platforms? What if I want to save all my highlights just in one place?

Months ago my friend Rafa and I released Finkip trying to find an elegant solution to these challenges. We know we are far from it. However, Medium has released some of the features we’ve tested for a while. This is a great validation.[2]

We believe that highlights might be the future of content. We can be wrong. We also don’t know if Finkip is even a startup. But it’s an interesting problem to work on.

P.S. Highlighting in Medium is delightful. I am not disappointed in Medium anymore.

_______________

Notes

[1] Highlights also enrich the people’s reading experience and let you skim through the important stuff in a post. Cara Meverden is right about this in her post “Is it OK to highlight your own stuff?”.

[2] We’ve been playing with highlights and screenshots sharing in Twitter for a while.

Special thanks to Camila Lecaros for reading drafts of this essay.


If you like this post it would be great if you share. This essay was first published on my blog www.romo.vc

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Sergio Romo

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I write essays about tech, startups, venture capital and my life. twitter: @sromo16 . I also like photography a lot. www.instagram.com/romotif

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