Tools & Tabs: Medium


Want to be a better, more informed person all around? Get on Medium.

Want to learn the three things every entrepreneur should know without having to click through slides that blow up your computer with advertisements? Get on Medium.

Want to just be entertained for five minutes? Get on Medium. 

Want to read what your cat is thinking? Get on Medium. 

I could keep going, but by now you get the point: you should get on Medium. 

There are few times when someone mentions the word blog, or social media, which lead me to expect that I might get something value-adding out of the experience about to come my way. Whether it is shouting into the void, or #craftingsavedmylife, I generally find very little personal enjoyment or utility in these services, they are kept a part of my life purely out of a need to network with other nerds for business purposes.

But, just when I thought transitioning from a high schooler on Facebook to a business user on Twitter had sapped my appetite for connecting with other humans on the internet, I came upon Medium. My first reaction was,  “Why is this blog styled so cool?” Then, “Woah you can highlight and share! How did they do that?” And finally I discovered it was not just one blog; it was a whole universe of users and content that the very ethos surrounding the word blog devalues. 

What makes Medium so amazing you ask? 

Well, to quote Ryan Greenberg, it starts with the fact that “...@Medium is like my blog, except that people actually read it.” The simple reality that Medium connects longform articles full of complete thoughts to readers is the seat of its power. When you shout into the void and people actually respond, you suddenly have both the incentive and the tools to improve the content you share and just maybe use the internet to cultivate new ideas, share perspectives, and perhaps change something in the real world. 

Next on the list is a stellar user base. If you work in technology, a lot of really smart people choose to share their thoughts on Medium. And if you have no interest in technology, there are still tons of really interesting normals writing about virtually every topic under the sun.

Medium covers the first two bases, quality content creators and an active readership, but it also has an under-recognized feature in its design that differentiates it from other content platforms. 

When you are reading a post on the service you get to just scroll through it, top to bottom— nothing but white space, text, and any photos embedded by the author. None of those sneaky advertisements that pretend to be news stories that pretend to be advertisements that pretend to be content that pretends to be advertising that is really content, that beaches itself as a banner in the middle of that article you were reading. 

In short, it is a real classy date spot for you and your eyes, no distractions, just you, your eyes, and a feast of words. 

The final feature that knocks it out of the park is the Medium data scientist genius who has crafted the Netflix-like categories to deliver you recommended content. There is always a well suited article queued up either in a recommended category in the top menu or the page footer that you will be smarter or at least more entertained after reading. 

What more do you want from the internet? Or from life, for that matter, than being a little better and a little more engaged after you do something? That’s the end of the praise, and you have hopefully left to go get on Medium, but if you haven’t yet, I have a personal plea to the internet:

Please don’t break Medium. 

It is the creeping memories of other once loved content providers who fell victim to shareholder demands to quickly and sloppily monetize, or simply were destroyed by the small but loud voices of a few bad apples, that has me fearing for Medium’s future. If it lives up to its potential, it will certainly trade up to a 5 out of 5 alongside the people who convinced us we wanted salty coffee for breakfast every morning.

Let’s show that we can have nice things.