Are Collections Medium’s ‘Moments’?

Today, Medium released Collections for the web version of the service. This is changing the user experience pretty significantly, as the company continues to drive into a curation-driven model.

But the realization that hit me is this: here’s Twitter’s News feed from the Moments stream:

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And here’s News on Medium’s new Collections:

In both cases I see stories/posts about Iceland and the Panama Papers mess, but otherwise a fairly big split in the editorial direction of the two media services. But the feel is very similar. (And in both sites, Tech is not one of the major themes, which is a side note, but an interesting parallel.)

This led me to revisit Ev William’s Medium is not a publishing tool, from May of last year, where he describes a shift in strategy for the company. As I observed at the time:

In a post entitled Medium is not a publishing tool — it’s not? — Williams starts by recounting the arc of his life, from Blogger to Twitter and now to Medium, tying them together with a storyline about attracting and retaining users for networks, or publishing platforms, or whatever the hell they are. He seems to be coming down on the network side of the coin today, which is the opposite of what they were pushing over the past months.

He says they’ve made a shift:

“In the last few months, we’ve shifted more of our attention on the product side from creating tool value to creating network value.”

He then discusses various social affordances on Medium, like the new ‘highlighting’ feature, and ‘responses’. He points at some problematic aspects of these new features, like the way that responses lead to multipart conversations spread out all over the place. He concludes,

“But every day we’re seeing growth of this activity and great examples of the network power of Medium being realized.

That’s why I say Medium is not a publishing tool. It’s a network. A network of ideas that build off each other. And people.”

Increasingly, Medium is taking on more of the form factor of Twitter — a social network service built around media — and less like a publishing platform, like Blogger was/is. And so I guess the convergence of Collections and Moments shouldn’t surprise, but it does, a bit.

Written by

Work ecologist. Founder, Work Futures. The ecology of work and the anthropology of the future.

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