I’ll be honest – I used to be a hardcore Twitter snob. I used to be avowedly anti-Twitter, turning my nose to those who used the social networking site. I thought that it seemed narcissistic to blast your opinions into the vast void of the internet (which is sort of silly, since I was using facebook like a fiend at the time). I also found the 140 character limit to be shallow and unnecessary. I thought it made for a network comprised of meaningless tweets that didn’t serve any purpose at all.
Needless to say, I was proven dead wrong. After biting the bullet and joining twitter, I’ve found it to be a democratizing force that can allow for some biting jokes and breaking news. I’ve found out about important news events long before they broke on the New York Times.
But sometimes, I still find myself frustrated with the 140 character limit. A headline and link is nice, but sometimes I’d like to hear a bit more from the people I follow. While shooting a quick tweet can allow for off-the-cuff opinions and humor, it can also sometimes feel constricting. There’ve been multiple times where I’ve been counting letters and figuring out where I can cut.
So, you can understand my excitement when I discovered Medium, which bills itself as a fuse between Twitter and a blogging services.
Like Twitter, users can explore specific topics, browse their feed, or find popular posts. And like blogging, users can create their own posts with as much or as little content as they want. Instead of hastags, posts link to other posts, creating an endless waterfall of interesting material. Sometimes, posts are picked up for display on the front page, giving you thousands of views without having to pay to promote your material.
Medium’s interface is aggressively minimalist – there are no unwieldy dashboards or clunky tools for users. While some may not appreciate the inability to format your page or post, the site itself looks great, and is accessible through all mobile devices as well.
If this isn’t enough, Medium is founded on some great principles, some of which sound eerily like those from the UCWbL. The creators of the site write that “At the heart of medium is the idea that people create better things together.” This emphasis on collaboration is amazing. It’s not about sharing every thought and whim with strangers, and it’s not about one-upping your friends to write the funniest joke. It’s about working with others to become a better writer.