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Introducing Medium, the next big thing in Web publishing

Part Pinterest, part Reddit, Medium is the new publishing tool from Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams

By , Network World
August 15, 2012 02:42 PM ET

Network World - From the guys who brought the Web two massively famous publishing tools in Blogger and Twitter comes Medium, Evan Williams and Biz Stone's attempt at bringing quality content to the forefront for readers.

Medium is the product of the Twitter co-founders' San Francisco-based Obvious Corporation, and was launched in a preview on Tuesday. The site operates similarly to Slashdot, Reddit and Pinterest, in that users can vote up content that they find compelling, "giving feedback to the creator and increasing the likelihood others will see it," as an About-style article posted to the site by Williams explained.

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The site organizes similar content in "collections." These are created by users with a theme in mind, and allow fellow users to contribute their own content that fits in with it. Some examples include this collection of unusual stories and this of childhood photos, both of which were initially created by Williams but contain content from a handful of other users.

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Those looking to simply browse a collection can decide whether they want the page to sort content by the latest submissions or those that are deemed most "interesting," meaning they received the most votes by other users.

By creating another easy-to-use publishing tool and adding the democratic factor, the Obvious Corp. aims to harness the publishing power of Blogger and Twitter for the purpose of promoting the best content.

"Lots of services have successfully lowered the bar for sharing information, but there's been less progress toward raising the quality of what's produced," Williams' post explains. "While it's great that you can be a one-person media company, it'd be even better if there were more ways you could work with others."

The site isn't completely separated from Twitter. Those looking to register need to sign in with their Twitter accounts. When viewing a post to the site, those who click the name of the user who published it are brought to that person's Twitter account. This may be regarded as a design flaw, as the site is set to navigate away from Medium and to that person's Twitter account within the same tab, as opposed to opening Twitter in a new one. However, given how intertwined the two sites are, diverting traffic from one to the other may not be much of a concern.

The site's interface may be its strong suit. Images are organized in rows of three, each of which comes with a brief caption. The top image, either the newest or most popular, is twice as wide as those below it. This, and the grid-like layout, makes for a much more appealing interface than Pinterest, the closest comparison to Medium's image boards.

Medium's collection pages are also much cleaner than those on Pinterest. Medium foregoes the large banner urging unregistered users to sign up. The site is very young, though, and as it progresses and the company becomes hungry for new users, this is always a possibility.

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