Are you using Medium? If the answer is no, the time is right to log on. A self-publishing platform created by the co-founders of Twitter in 2012, the site serves up a near-endless stream of content in such categories as culture, humor, tech, and long reads. Somehow, despite receiving 17 million visitors a month, Medium still hasn’t gone mainstream, but it’s fast becoming a go-to for excellent digital content. Already it’s being used by Barack Obama, who recently chose it as the best place to publish his State of the Union Address, along with celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, publishers like Random House Penguin, and authors like Emily Gould.
Medium attracts two types: readers and writers. If you’re the former you can spend hours perusing its pages and come away feeling like you’ve gotten a dose of The New Yorker, Salon, and Wired all at once. Most of the stories you’ll find are original to the site, but some are republished from elsewhere online. Sign up for a free account using Facebook or Twitter, as that will allow you to “recommend” and follow the stories and authors that most interest you. In essence that’s like subscribing to their feed, so that Medium will show you their work as it goes live as well as help you discover other relevant content. Visiting a writer’s profile page can serve the same purpose by affording you access to his or her own recommended stories.
For the writers, Medium is an alternative to blogging that puts your work in front of a huge new audience hungry for good stories. The platform itself is a pleasure to use and produces posts with loads of visual appeal. If you’re so inclined, you can collaborate with other users by sharing your work in progress prior to publishing it on the site. You can also import stories you’ve already posted to your personal or author blog to gain access to new readers. Fiction and non-fiction authors alike are producing beautiful work and building a following of potential fans in the process. I’m particularly fond of Fred Venturini, whose stories (“Five Awesome Nuggets of Writing Advice,” “The Accidental Novelist“) offer invaluable writing advice and insight into the publishing industry.
Few of us can claim to have the time for another social site, but Medium is more than that. It’s a good book. A thought-provoking editorial. Advice to help you with your craft, delivered by a pro. It’s become the first place I go in the morning and the last place I visit online at night. And I’m a better writer for my trouble.