One of the tenets underpinning Medium is that people write better together — or, as Ev has written, “Don’t write alone.”
In that spirit, The Message is a new collection for collaborative writing. We’ve gathered twelve writers and thinkers across technology, media, culture, and academia to publish together in one place—and demonstrate that the sum is greater than its parts. Think of it as a modern version of Dorothy Parker’s Algonquin Round Table, whose members, in the course of conversing on a constant basis, collaborated on creative projects. We hope that, like the Round Table, The Message will allow for a flowering of ideas, robust debate, and thoughtful discourse.
The Message is a Pandaemonium Revolver Collection (see email transcript below for explanation) by:
- Andy Baio
- danah boyd
- Anil Dash
- Paul Ford
- Virginia Heffernan
- Joanne McNeil
- Craig Mod
- Quinn Norton
- Robin Sloan
- Rex Sorgatz
- Clive Thompson
- Zeynep Tufekci
We’re going to publish about a post a day, starting now, so The Message will be arriving in parts over the coming months. Meanwhile, here’s a sample of how we roll when no one is looking, lifted from the group’s first email thread, edited for clarity and length:
Andy: Hey, do we have a name for this writing project thing yet? “Salon 1999” has a nice ring to it.
Anil: Nobody’s done “Medium At Large” yet, right?
Quinn: I thought we should pick something that looks meaningful but isn’t. So how about “The Lead Pipe”?
Virginia: I kind of like “The Lead Pipe.” Dreadful murder weapon. “Candlestick.” “Revolver.”
Paul: Nobody’s done “Medium’s Well Done” yet either, Anil… We could call it “90% Not Brooklyn.”
Can we just call it “Collection”?
Clive: Sinister could be great. Along those lines, there’s “Pandemonium.” For extra bonus points we could spell it “Pandaemonium,” the way John Milton originally coined it in Paradise Lost.
Quinn: “Treehouse Illuminati” just came up… [But] why limit ourselves to circles? “Dodecahedron” has a ring. Or we could raise the (topological) roof: “Torus”!
Zeynep: I’ll remind y’all of those suggestions as you type “Pandemonium of Treehouse Illuminati” into Twitter’s itsy bitsy box.
Robin: Also, “Pandemonium” has some interesting and excellent connotations connected to the way reading works in the brain… But maybe too close to, and evocative of…“Pando”?
Clive: Keeping Twitter’s constraints in mind, we should be aiming for a name that is 118 characters long, so there’s just enough room to fit the name, a space, and a 21-character shortened URL.
Zeynep: I personally like names that start with “z,” but this language of yours has a shortage of those. (Drug companies also like “z” words because they’re memorable, so they make them up: Zoloft, Zantac, and Zyrtec.)
Craig: Other ideas: “Cool Your Eyes,” which is a play on Tim Berners-Lee’s classic, “Cool URIs don’t change.”
Zeynep: Can we be “The Message”? We’re on Medium, so…
Rex: I like “The Message.” Or, punny as the master himself, perhaps “The Massage”? It might be a better depiction of this territory?
Andy: I’m digging “The Message.” Favorite of every suggestion so far. Plus, it has a built-in theme song.
Medium is for everybody — and, obviously, The Message can’t encompass all of the voices, perspectives, and people we’d like to have participating. So if you like this idea, please do start your own collections to capture the voices that are missing here. Invite your friends and colleagues to a writing circle of your own and see what happens. Write better together.