The media has not become a medium. We've failed at creating cohesive digital formats.
Jay Dolan, What the F is Medium?
After writing about Medium yesterday in Verbosity, I came across the above post exploring how Medium fits in alongside Tumblr, WordPress, Twitter, and so forth. Fresh with my ideas about Medium, I decided to take the plunge and wrote this lengthy comment:
I had a different take on Medium, which is yan extension of another product they backed/helped create, Branch
If you read their introductory blog post, they mention how there are a lot of places to create content, but not enough quality content. Tumblr is a site that already allows you to post a picture with text or video with text, or just one or the other. The problem (in their view) is that people only view their site when creating, or reblog something someone else has done. There is no real building upon an idea. There are extensions of ideas (i.e. memes exploding in popularity) but no shared experiences.
With Medium, the individual pieces aren't what matters. It's the shared collection that matters. People read one person's story, video, picture, and want to share their own story/video/picture with that collection.
With Branch, the individual message isn't what matters, but the "branch" of curated conversation. You don't refer to one item from a branch, but the entire branch.
In a way, it's like Pinterest, because people create their own collections there, but most often there's nothing meaningful behind each collection. It's just an easy way to organize our own thoughts. So Medium takes the visual style of Pinterest, but allows people to create shared collections.
The main thing that helped clue me into this is what happens when you click the author's name. On every other site on the Net, it takes you to a profile page which has information about the author and other items they've created on the site. On Medium, it takes you to the Twitter profile (go figure, really). Right now, there's no way to discover what other authors have written, just explore other ideas more thoroughly.
Of course, this is only the alpha release, and who knows if this is going to change in the future. To me, Branch is a much more appealing service, like Quora but you invite people into the conversation, and make it public or not. I see a service like that being more valuable and replacing email. But why would I share a piece of writing on Medium instead of my own site? That's the biggest question facing Medium, and one I don't see a clear answer for.