Is Medium the new message?

Medium is a new social network that’s trying to change the way we publish and share content.

Lofty goal.

It’s the brainchild of Blogger and Twitter founders Ev Williams and Biz Stone, who’ve created a platform that’s simple and elegant, highly visual and organized around topics rather than authors.

It’s currently in Beta and I haven’t had a chance to test the site yet. However, from what I’ve seen, there’s a Pinterest-type aesthetic at play.  Which makes sense given the ever-increasing visual nature of the Internet. 

You can view posts in reverse chronological order or sort them by quality (assuming quality is based on what more people interact with/like). That means the first results don’t have to be the newest. You can add a curatorial element that changes the way content is presented.

But what intrigues me most is that like Pinterest, Medium is another interest-based social network, as opposed to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, which rely on your social graph for connections.

This runs counter to the strategy employed by Google’s Search Plus Your World which gives you results based on what your contacts are sharing.

Because the site is organized by topic rather than writer, interest trumps author and topics receive the highest billing. It’s like the flip side of a ‘traditional’ blog where, instead of posts in search of a category, you find categories in search of posts, as Dave Winer observes.

With Medium you’ll be able to find, follow, discuss and share subjects near and dear to your hearts though not necessarily the hearts your friends.

For businesses, this seems like an opportunity to create fresh, topic-based stories with the potential to reach a wider audience by expanding beyond the social networks of a company’s customers. It offers brands a chance to develop a whole new set of relationships and increase word of mouth and purchase.

I’m looking forward to trying Medium out when it has a wider release. In the meantime, here’s an insightful overview from the Nieman Journalism Lab.

Do you think interest-based networks will supplant social networks as the place people go to for information and discovery?

About Martin Waxman

Martin Waxman is a digital, social media and communications strategist, content marketer, social media trainer and instructor and co-founder of three PR agencies. He blogs at myPALETTE and hosts the Inside PR podcast.