What is Medium?

Earlier this summer I was looking around for some of that elusive substance commonly referred to as "content". My search landed momentarily on the site Medium.com. I cannot say yet exactly what I was looking for and it is irrelevant at this time but I will relate some of what I found. To make the story long, I signed up for something and received an email. Medium sends them out half way regularly highlighting several stories. I read one, it was an inspiring piece which eventually changed how I do things. I figured someone else might be interested in it as well. The platform itself is what I really want to talk about today for more than a couple of reasons. I will tell you up front I cannot truly answer the question, "what is Medium?". What I can do is share my experience. As always I encourage you to join the discussion.

Along my journey I have read so many articles which were really helpful. I completely appreciate how people will share their finds and make the internet a better place. Do not consider me an expert on Medium, I am not but I would like to be. Medium is essentially a site where I think anyone can publish whatever they want. If they have limitations, I am unaware. I was able to use my Twitter account to get established with an account. It fairly automatically connected my in common contacts without me doing anything. Simple.

I have heard of writers using Medium for their sole writing platform. One author I read claims to use Medium and Kindle exclusively to sell ebooks. Sounds innovative and if it works, more power to him. Medium does have a pretty decent built in word processor. I write almost everything online in one fashion or another so this is a plus. Another plus of Medium is its no nonsense interface, there is much of nothing to figure out. If I were beginning my blog today, it might make total sense to start on Medium. I can think of several reasons, but the first is because it is easy. Easy and free are typically a good combo, more on that later. The second reason is there are like a million plus users, and people looking for content are more likely to stumble upon one of my articles on Medium than many other places. Here is where I might throw in a caveat. I already have an established blog with lets say 3 or so visitors a week, so what now? I can answer that for me. I post most of my blog articles secondarily to Medium. Part of the nifty interface is a really easy to use import story feature. They could not have made this much easier. I figure it is a good place to be but I am not ready to abandon my site for obvious reasons.

This is where things just got more interesting. Medium very recently announced the ability to bring a custom domain to the platform. It might mean giving up a little bit of flexibility and losing old articles among other things. There are advantages to consider as well. I don't believe my blog is technologically sophisticated but I can do pretty much whatever I want, if this is even a consideration. There is very little to customize on Medium, mine is not going to look much different than anyone else's. This to me is neither a pro or a con, just a consideration. I pay nothing for my hosting, so money is no object. Free is always good, unless it results in medical attention or some other bad thing. Medium may actually be providing a modern alternative to Blogger and WordPress with some advanced features. As far as I understand even these new custom domain options are free for the users, so it may actually make sense on more than one level.

One of the many things I have not figured out is how to have other people find my stuff. Honestly I am pretty iffy on discovering other peoples as well. There is a tagging system which allows three tags per article. I have searched using the tags but I find most of the interesting pieces just from logging onto the home page. I inevitably find one article which I read among the featured stories.

I see a big future for the platform and hope to get a much better grip on how to use it. I have definitely come across many articles well worth the read. If you are someone looking for content to share or a platform to develop on or interact with people of similar interest, Medium is worth a visit. Posts have features which allow readers to highlight and even comment on in addition to recommending or even sharing. The best part is, it is all native. No need to get your share buttons installed by a tech friend or worse. Curious about how much attention your article is getting? No problem, the super easy stats show views and reads in yet another straight forward interface.

To sum it up. I do believe Medium is a worthwhile platform with many advantages. The interactive experience among authors and readers is really where Medium stands to separate itself further from other alternatives. Better yet, it is free and used properly will not lead to medical attention.