Twitter Medium Launch: The Next Big Social Network?

August 21st, 2012 by Maggie Emerson

Last Tuesday, Twitter founders, Evan Williams and Biz Stone of Obvious Co., unveiled a new web platform, Medium, a publishing tool where people can submit photos and text. But this ambitious new publishing tool is still a bit of mystery. Medium is still in its preview stage, and it’s unclear as to what will set it apart from all other web platforms.

The dynamic duo, Williams and Stone, collectively created Blogger in 1999 and then later the ever-popular Twitter in 2006. Social networks and the way people use them has evolved dramatically since the launch of the pair’s first web platform, Blogger. Williams and Stone have seen much room for improvement in the social networking/blogging world. Stone states in his blog, “We felt compelled to build a content network for the technology age we’re living in now, and we have a vision for what publishing should be.”

The two have used what they have learned over past 13 years in an attempt to create an “evolutionary leap” in the publishing world. Creating Medium “from scratch,” Obvious Corporation has taken on this ambitious project to better connect people to media as well as prompt people to become more creative with the content they are posting.

Now, what actually is Medium? What can it do?

This is where some of the mystery comes into play. Medium has been described as a cross between Pinterest and Reddit and even called a “Frankensteinish PinTumblReddit.” With Medium, people can share content under different categories that show up in visual grid much similar to Pinterest. Williams describes in his blog that Medium allows users to choose their level of involvement, publishing content to “collections;” people can click to indicate if they like something as well as give feedback. Over time, many users will add content to one collection creating an array of different people’s ideas and experiences.

Okay, so besides the way this new platform is organized, Medium sounds very similar to existing social networking sites. Is Medium really as innovative as Williams and Stone describe in their blog? It’s hard to say, because the platform is still in its beginning stages. Obvious Corp. has launched what they have built so far and seek to learn and make adjustments as they observe users, describing what was launched as only a “sliver of what it could be.” Currently, anyone with a Twitter account can log in and give feedback, but posting content is limited to a small number of people.

What are your thoughts on Medium? Have Williams and Stone successfully created the “evolutionary leap” they were attempting, or will this new publishing tool fall short of the founders’ expectations?