Building Medium is a continuing process and we’re always interested in hearing from people about what works for them and what could work better.
DW: I don’t see a statement of principles, tech startups usually don’t have them.
One could argue that Medium’s “statement of principles” is its Terms of Service and community Rules, as well as the accompanying documents in the Policies section of our Help Center. All of the Medium policy documents are hosted there, and at the Github Policy repo, where you can track revisions to these documents.
Maybe you’d like to see something else in a different format? What ideal are you envisioning?
DW: People also post to Medium to get more flow. But at what cost? Which pieces get flow?
The pieces that get “flow” on Medium are the pieces that people actively recommend by clicking on the heart icon at the bottom of a story, or in the toolbar that appears when you hover over the text of a story. When someone recommends a story, it gets added to the streams of the people following them. You can find out more about how distribution works here.
There is actually no “front page” of Medium, officially. Each signed-in user has their own customized reading list based on the people, tags and publications they are following. If people are following you or someone who recommends your story, it will go into their feed and appear on their personalized home page. The stories that appear on Medium.com for users that are not logged in are stories that are trending at that moment. There is no curatorial process for landing on the “front page” of Medium. If people recommend your story, it will show up in the feeds of the people who follow them — although the top stories section is global for all users.
When new users sign up for Medium, they automatically follow the Medium Staff account. As it says in the description for that account, it is really “Recommended reading from the staff at Medium.” Anyone who follows the Medium Staff account will see stories recommended by that account appear in their feed, just like they would for any other account they follow. Medium Staff recommends stories we have found compelling or thought-provoking. Users can always un-follow the Medium Staff account to further customize their reading list and feed.
You’re absolutely right: people shouldn’t *just* post to Medium. They should post everywhere in every format and using every tool that feels right for them, meets their needs and aligns with their values. Technological diversity, like cultural and biological diversity, is a great thing.
Medium users are able to write and publish using the built-in editor on Medium.com or by using the Medium API (see also: Medium API Terms of Service). Using the Medium API, Developers can build the tools that make the most sense for them and their users. Here’s a basic introduction to our API (linked above).
Welcome to the Medium API
Medium is known for having a delightful editor, but it’s not what makes Medium special.
There are a number of 3rd party developers who have already provided public tools to interact with the Medium API from other applications.
For newbies, IFTTT stands for “If This, Then That” and is a website where you can sign into different web-based applications and link them together to take certain actions across apps based on triggers which you define in “recipes.”
If you go to the Medium channel on IFTTT, you’ll find a few hundred different recipes people have created linking Medium to all different kinds of apps:
Medium is the network for the free exchange of ideas. It's a place for thoughtful and authentic voices to collide…
You also don’t have to be a programmer to make useful tools in IFTTT, which is nice.
Here’s a simple example email-to-Medium recipe:
Post to Medium By Email
Notes: Send an email to an address and have it publish to your @profile on Medium.
Post to Medium via RSS Feed
Using the feed channel on IFTTT as a trigger, you can set up a recipe to post from your RSS feed to your Medium user account. Here is more information:
Creating Medium stories via RSS
It’s now simple to cross-post via your site’s existing RSS feeds or a new RSS feed curated specifically for Medium.
So if you want to publish off-site using a self-hosted WordPress account you can do it with the WP-Medium plugin. (Ironically, I’m not sure it works on the free plans on WordPress.com)
One thing that’s cool is you could use WordPress to schedule a post and then have it post automatically to the Medium Publishing API using the plugin — a feature not currently offered on Medium.com itself.
In the link above are the following third-party desktop integrations (ie, writing applications integrated with the Medium API) which you can download and use to publish on Medium as well as other platforms and in other text formats, all from within the same tool.
These integrated applications provide user experiences and features which are unique and different from the Medium.com editor. Some users might prefer them, depending on how they write and how they’d like to publish and distribute their writing on the world-wide web. We’re always interested to hear people’s experiences using those applications, or any other methods, to publish on Medium.
Thanks for your comments and feedback.