The 21st Century Platform for Readers and Writers

What Medium can do to stop being stuck between the past and the future.


As one of the early users of Medium, seeing how it was born and is growing, I have shaped my vision on the platform.

Medium has the potential to become The Place Where People Write.

By today, it could have grown into the 21st century platform for readers and writers. Full stop. No strings attached.

As much as I am fond of Medium, frankly, it did not go far beyond just a great 20th century product.

Among other things,

The platform of the 21st century:
  1. Allows authors to focus 100% on creating great content.
  2. Gives instant feedback on just and soon-to-be published pieces.
  3. Foresees the future and gives writers a hint as to what the next big things might be.

Content

First and foremost, authors should not have to put effort into promoting content.

The platform should take care of it. Hundred percent. One should be good to go the moment they click “Publish”.

Raise your hand if you agree that “Please recommend this post” at the bottom of the text hurts its quality.

Do authors add those footers on purpose? Yes, because they work. Is it bad for the end users? Yes, it hurts the experience. Is it in Medium’s hands to have it fixed? Yes, entirely.

In the 21st century of data analytics and personalized recommendations, the service can afford to assign strictly negative value to effectively any non-organic attempts to promote one’s content.

Yes, it limits the distribution and slows down the growth. But that is what makes the service deserving of the badge of belonging to the third millennium of our history!

Feedback

Medium offers quite a bit of statistics on one’s content.

But, today, the difference between Medium and other platforms is quantitative, not qualitative.

The service of the 21st century is completely transparent with the authors on:

  • Audience and demographics.
Example: “Your piece is mostly read by Asian women living in Singapore, while mostly recommended by French-speaking Canadians. …”
  • Engagement within the post and how it evolves.
“… The above does not apply to the readers coming from the Forbes link; the audience there, however, mostly loses you after three paragraphs, on the words `The point I would like to make is: …`.”
  • Retention and statistics on loyal readers.
“75% of the those, who read this piece, have not read any of your other stories …”
  • How does one compare with other writers on Medium.
“… which places you into the 15th percentile of other Writers on Medium. While your piece is appealing enough to read and recommend, it does not perform great at people subscribing to read the other writings of yours.”

The idea to share drafts is amazing.

Why can’t we sign up for reviewing pieces from people we trust in exchange to being able to read them before they are published?

Why won’t the service make a call to pay people who prove to be useful editors for reviewing the best posts? For suggesting what posts should be written and who might be good authors for them? For many other things that are relatively inexpensive, yet have a noticeable impact on the community of readers and writers.

Check out Hemingway App for an idea of where the technology is today. And that does not use data and has no personalization. With all the data and community, Medium can do much, much better!

Insights

In the millennium of data-driven technology, a service as broad as Medium has the luxury to predict what topics would likely be trending next day or next week.

Beyond that, data coming from the social graph enables drawing long-lasting conclusions on good potential collaborators and reviewers.

21st century looks like this:

Dear Writer,
We consider you being very knowledgeable in languages, online marketing, dancing, pet care and digital currencies.
If we may suggest, writing more about digital currencies would have a great potential next week.
John Doe, whom you know via An Extremely Insightful View on Digital Cash, might be a great co-author. Would you like us to introduce you?
Thank you for writing with us.
Yours truly,
The Platform of the 21st Century.
What do we see instead?

This:

When I published “How did I get 1,000,000 views in 7 hours”, I wrote it in about an hour, then spent 3 hours submitting it to collections with various keywords. So I would recommend keeping a 1:3 ratio comparing time spent writing vs submitting your story to other.
via How to build an audience using Medium”.

And this:

There will be no more open submissions to collections, and stories can only belong to a single collection.
Collections will have now have three types of participants: Owner, editor, and writer.
via “Update to Medium collections”.

The platform of the future, prior to everything else, breaks the pattern of social marketing in favor of simply delivering relevant, high-quality content to the right people.

Instead of the above, the developing story of Medium collections, their ownership and editing privileges, is a story of:

  1. giving up on the idea to think big of content personalization,
  2. giving up on the idea of automating content distribution, and
  3. effectively, outsourcing the painful task of sharing and managing content to the authors.

What we have is a supreme, cute-looking online blog posts editor combined with analytical tools that are strong just enough to keep the writers publishing their pieces right within the platform.


Please hear me right.

Medium is great! I love it and plan to write and publish more stories here.

It just is not as good as it might have been, somewhere deep in the dreams of my imagination.

I dream big. Do you?