Medium: A new platform for writers

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Medium's About PageOver the last year, I’ve spent considerable time experimenting with Medium, a new platform for writers. Medium is one of a half dozen sites striving to be the Youtube of words, but is primarily focused on non-fiction, long-form essays. It’s particularly attractive for journalists and freelancers.

(Unlike Wattpad, which is definitely focused more on fiction and currently ranks #24 in the world’s most popular websites. You can read my discussion of the Wattpad platform here).

Medium’s interface is beautiful and it does a good job of encouraging meaningful commenting and conversation. It’s easy to use and publish. Originally, access to the platform was by invite only, but now it’s open to anyone with a Twitter account.

The site also uses categories, which are curated by editors, to group and characterize topics. As a general Medium user, you can follow those of interest to you and request permission to write to others if they align with your writing interests.

A popular example is the “This Happened to Me” category. Many people follow it, but it’s harder to get noticed because it’s so popular. You might be better off choosing a smaller category if you want to be seen, especially as the site becomes more popular.

I think of Medium as a different platform for an op-ed. Generally, I find there’s more depth on individual topics and deeper trends than what I see reflected in the mainstream opinion pages. It’s also a great place to publish an in-the-moment post on a topical subject to a potentially wider audience than what your own blog provides. (See Aron Solomon’s post from a year ago about Uber’s Storm-Surge Pricing and Start-up Decency 101).

If you’re interested in new marketing channels, go play with Medium. I use it to post essays that don’t fit with the mandate of this blog, such as this one, “Want a Successful Marriage After Kids? Divide Your Household Chores Equally,” which is more personal than most of my writing on The Analytic Eye. That piece was recognized in the Editor’s Choice category, which means you get actively shared on the platform.

Is Medium a replacement for having your own blog? I don’t think so. My most successful piece has had over 3,000 reads and over 40 recommendations, but that’s a far cry from my most popular post here, which is in the 50,000+ range. If I’m going to generate that much traffic, I’d like to do it on my own platform.

It is, however, an interesting publishing tool if you’re being strict about curating a voice on your blog but want to stray into other topics and expand your following.

Here’s a list of my Medium blog posts:

I also wrote several posts about a crowdfunding campaign I co-directed through my work at MaRS Innovation last fall. More to come on that later: