Seeing the future of a happy Medium

Medium is one of the best websites in the world today. I say that because it’s one of the web sites that I go to just about every day. I go to it much more than I go to Facebook or Twitter.

But how did this happen? Medium has a readership — and writership — that I think metafilter.com (one of the early apps), wordpress.com and blogger.com were dreaming about for years.

The write way of doing things

Some thoughts:

With Medium you can just start writing. There is nothing to set up, no themes to choose from, no pages of settings. You can’t be better than other because you can program. You aren’t distracted by worries about colors or fonts. It just works. And you can just write.

From the get-go Medium encourages longer articles and provided an hint at the time it might take you to read the article. It’s the opposite of a Tweet. Again, you can just write

Medium enabled online collaborations. Writers can band together. Producing more articles more frequently, helped take care of the marketing and editing aspects. Meaning, you can just write.

A more recent occurrence is that bricks and mortar organizations are using Medium as a data repository. For some people this means that you are given the same publishing tools at work, at home and at your activities. So you can just write.

Read all over

One of my early heroes on the web in the late nineties was Jorn Barger. He had this web site tiled Robot Wisdom. Every day he posted a set of links to look at. He called this thing a ‘weblog’ and, yes, the word ‘blog’ does spring from Barger’s early efforts.

Th modern-day equivalent is Matt Drudge’s Drudgereport. Both these sites provide(d) frequently update curated links covering the gamut of human experience from science to smut. To this day there’s probably no site that covers significant fast-breaking news with less latency than Drudge.

My current favorite writer — you’ll see the point of this in a bit-is Dave Pell with his NextDraft daily email.

The big issue in all this is that there’s way too much to read. And with Medium enabling more and better writing, there’s going to be even more that’s too much to read.

Barger and Drudge do an excellent job of things to read today in a format that become familiar quickly and you learn to scan with eagle eyes.

Pell does even more. He provides a precis of the backstory behind the link. So even if you don’t click you have an idea about what is going on. This is all in a structured and formatted email that’s easy to scroll.

I look for ways of keeping what I read to under two hours per day. Drudge and Pell help with the news. And so does Medium with the longer deeper reads.

Here’s the issue: The pile of unread New Yorker magazines on the hall table. The menu after menu of unread blog posts on Feedly. The innumerable un-clicked clicks in an issue of the NY Times.

I love them all, but they suck you into a world that difficult to escape and make you feel guilty for not loving them enough.

Medium — much in the same way as the bloggers mentioned above — presents you with a list of targeted choices for you to pick from. Every day there’s a fresh set-built around tags, orgs and peeps you follow. There’s very little guilt if you miss a day or two.

The Spoiler

I’ve put the spoiler at the end of the article. I know that’s not logical, but then again neither is Medium.

Everything I have written so far is fairly much common knowledge. No surprises. I feel the peeps at Medium understand all this. And I assume they are exquisitely aware of the amount of text in a post or message that is most suitable for readerships. Yada Yada.

I really think they understand that I am Goldilocks. I don’t want to read too little. I don’t want to read too much, I want to read just enough.

Or do they?

I am now getting an Medium email every Friday morning that gives a me weekend reading list. In other words, I will have the regular Medium page I visit every day and then I will gave to go back to my email and see the rest.

But wait, wait, there’s more! Since I like Medium so much, when Ev announced his Medium monetization membership, I signed up in the first five minutes. So guess what? Now every Friday afternoon I receive a specially crafted members only email with yet another dozen links to feel guilty about not reading.

Yes, I will most likely unsubscribe from the messages. I feel sorry about this. I am a web dude and I feel it’s important to follow everything that the people I like are doing.

There’s a ton more to say. But it’s getting late and I still have not don Hacker News.

Bye for now…

Theo

Links of interest

Robot Wisdom / Jorn Barger

I discovered the web via Robot Wisdom.

MetaFilter

MetaFilter ~ a general-interest community weblog, founded in 1999. I wanted to build a blog on this app because it allowed for multiple authors and a write, edit, publish process. I discontinued because the software —a t the time/for me — was hard to install on a server and I never found any writers.