The question about what Medium is, exactly, was muddied a little further Wednesday night when CEO Ev Williams announced a bunch of changes to the platform. (Wait, maybe that’s what it is, a platform!)
That post was accompanied by a slew of other update posts from various Medium staffers, which I’ve tried to thread in through this post; you can see all of them here.
Medium is partnering with several publishers: The Awl, Discovery, Fusion, Steven Johnson’s How We Get To Next, Mic, MSNBC, and Travel + Leisure. It hasn’t explained exactly what those partnerships mean, beyond the fact that “you’ll see them using our new tools to drive discussion around exciting original and distributed content initiatives.”
And the publishers seem to be using the platform in different ways: Fusion hasn’t published anything yet, for example, while MSNBC says that its Medium publication is to “share political commentary and informed perspectives hot off the campaign trail and from inside 30 Rock” and Mic is republishing stories, a few days old, that previously ran on its site.
More ads are coming too. Williams wrote:
We are going to be exploring new ways for professional and independent content creators to connect with both brands and their readers. We are committed to facilitating those relationships in a way that helps money flow back to creators so they can sustain themselves doing what they love.
This makes it sound as if Medium users would be able to turn on an option allowing them to host ads on their content and share in some of the revenue. Saul Carlin, Medium’s head of publisher development, expanded on this a bit more:
We’re starting to develop new native advertising solutions and paid content models that we think will help professional writers, bloggers, and publishers earn revenue on Medium, via an engaged audience they’ve built and the thoughtful content they create.
Meanwhile, here are the changes that are here now:
— An open publishing API that lets users publish to Medium from elsewhere. There’s a new WordPress plugin, and Medium has initially teamed up with text editors Byword, iA Writer, and Ulysses. There’s also a new Medium IFTTT channel.
Medium doubling down on being a network, not just a tool, by 1) saying that as loudly as possible; and 2) launching new networky features.
— Zach Seward (@zseward) October 8, 2015
— App updates to both the Android and iOS apps. Users can now write, edit, and publish posts straight from the app. a new notifications tab shows “recommends, follows, highlights, mentions, and responses.” For iOS 9, deep linking and 3D Touch are enabled; long-press the app icon to start a new story.
— New text features: drop caps, a “TK” spotter, refreshed typography, and layout changes to improve the way stories appear on small screens.
With the new logo, Medium seems to really be embracing its identity as WordPress for venture capitalists.
— John Overholt (@john_overholt) October 8, 2015
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