Medium: adding a social content discovery component?
Content Discovery function is critical: for the reader, the publisher, the platform, the business
Medium is a great platform in many ways. One of the areas which can be improved is Content Discovery — introduce intelligent ways to expose a user to content which proves to be somehow relevant and of value (to the particular user and point in time).
Content discovery is critical: there is great content in there, which will never be discovered by some users simply due to practical limitations
The obvious way to optimize the content discovery function is to improve the level of personalization and the power of the underlying content recommendation engine (or possibly reset its objectives). For example, Medium could focus on personalized content experiences, new ways to expose users to content which proves to be relevant and of value to them. This implies a sophisticated personalization system — able to continuously track and understand the implicitly and/or explicitly stated preferences of each user along with the qualities, attributes and performance of the content. The result would be better recommendations and timely, optimal, content synthesis for each particular user, and point in time: as a Medium reader, I want to discover fresh, potentially relevant, high-value content so I can focus on (and potentially redefine) what matters to me. How about a more innovative way to discover great content?
A social content discovery component
Allow people to naturally discover content by accessing the most popular & recently consumed topics or content in reference to a particular social arrangement.
Assuming a particular social arrangement (customers in a Bar/Movie theater, friends having a coffee, colleagues in a meeting room etc.); The medium mobile app knows the preferences of each user identified as member of the particular social situation/ arrangement and hence it can easily create a consolidated set of recently and most frequently consumed topics, content, authors, publishers for the members of this particular social arrangement.
The Medium mobile app could recommend content to each user, inspired by the particular implied or stated preferences of the persons in the arrangement. A series of such recommendations defines an ongoing, social content discovery engine (powered both by people I know and strangers which happened to be in the same place as well). The app may also support naming the social arrangement, exposing patterns related to it (i.e. ad-hoc or repeating, social or professional etc.); could also support automatic conversion to a group or a discussion, with suggestions to join and exchange opinions on specific content, topics, authors, publishers.
The system could further present the history of the social arrangements the user has joined, enriched with content and topical preferences, trends, gaps, recommendations and statistics.