We know plenty about what Medium is.
We know it’s an online publishing platform. We know it’s a compendium of amateur and professional writers. And we know that it’s growing faster than even its founders’ predicted.
Here are a few things about Medium that you might not have known.
1. Medium is Twitter’s baby.
Medium actually started out as an offshoot of Twitter, designed to give users a way to publish their thoughts without cramming their long-winded diatribes into 140 character boxes. It quickly established itself as its own brand, though, with “Medium” becoming synonymous with network-oriented publishing.
2. Medium is a content hub.
Sure, we all know that you can find plenty of content on Medium, but when we say “content hub” we’re referring to the offshoots that Medium itself owns:
- Cuepoint, an online music magazine,
- Backchannel, a technology blog,
- Newco Shift, a yet to be launched multichannel media property.
From its humble origins as an amateur blog host, Medium is fast developing into an all-in-one media property with plenty of value to share.
3. Medium is inherently social.
Medium’s origins as a social media sidekick have let it take some of the best aspects of other social media platforms and apply them to its own platform. Posts can be shared as they are on Twitter. There is an upvotes and likes system reminiscent of Facebook and Reddit. Content can be given themes a la Tumblr. Medium is basically a social network at this point.
4. Medium is changing the publishing game…
Aside from pulling the best trends from other platforms, Medium brings its own game to the table with unique features like “highlights.” Highlighting creates immediate value for both highlighter and reader, as well as exponentially increasing the value of each piece as more users contribute.
5. …But Medium is not a “publishing tool.”
Evan Williams’ words, not ours.
The founder of Medium has exhausted himself explaining that while publishing is an aspect of Medium, calling Medium a publishing tool is reductive. The leaders of Medium view it more as a network of shared minds that actively support and contribute to one another.
6. Medium brings out the best in the online community.
The defining feature of Medium is also one of its most valuable aspects—amateur contributions. Not all bloggers have something to say, and not everyone who has something to say will have a blog. Medium excels at finding a middle ground here, cultivating unique insights from users without requiring them to have their own website.
7. Content on Medium is mostly amateur.
It can be easy to forget that Medium writers are mostly amateurs, particularly when you toss a smattering of paid, professional writers into the mix. However, according to the New York Times, over 95 percent of content on Medium is contributed by the work-for-free masses.
8. Medium is an Internet freedom fighter.
The open source nature of Medium is designed to fight back against the onslaught of paid advertising, paid articles, and paid everything else being thrown at us from big-box companies like Facebook or Apple. The goal of Medium is to offer a platform of free-thinking idea exchange that offers something newer than what the big online news outlets feed us.
9. Medium is built to stymie online trolling.
Unlike normal comments, Medium utilizes a “response” feature on its articles. This system involves a series of rules that comments must follow to be visible on each page, with the end goal of preventing inflammatory or off-topic rants from derailing legitimate conversation.
10. Medium is blacklisted in Malaysia.
Thanks to an article posted on Medium by The Sarawak Report, (a London-based publication that has previously locked horns with Malaysia’s Communications and Multimedia Commission), Malaysia wants nothing to do with Medium. When Medium refused to be cowed by a take-down notice concerning the offending content, Malaysia blacklisted all content hosted on Medium for the foreseeable future.