Medium is becoming more a publishing company, but still a platform

Steven Levy of Medium wrote about a recent change to what were formerly called ‘collections’ — basically people’s curated streams of articles. This was causing a lot of duplication and fuzziness, as anyone could curate any post. And as the overall number of posts at Medium has increased, something better was needed, something that allows exclusivity. Enter ‘publications’.

Steven Levy, Medium Publications

Publications are focused.

In the past, anyone could submit to a collection, and editors could add any story to their collection. For most collections (and we reviewed many of them), this prevented them from developing any cohesiveness. To correct this, stories can now only appear in a single publication, and writers need to become invited members of that publication to be published in it. We feel this will help publications develop their own unique identities.

Publications look great.

At one point, collections were a simple list of stories. Then, we gave you the tools to customize your collection layout and choose what stories you want to feature and how you want them presented. We have more features in the pipeline to further brand your publication and the stories in it, such as logos, mastheads, and an expanded “about us” section.

Publications are destinations.

In the last year, we have launched several of our own in-house publications: Backchannel, Cuepoint, Matter, The Message, The Nib, and Vantage. They have quickly become the first stop on the internet for readers looking for the most informative and well-written articles on music, tech, photography, and more. Everyday new companies, universities, artists, and authors launch new publications specializing in their area of expertise.

So Medium is moving to be more of a place to find publications with unique value propositions, rather than just a place to follow your favorite writers. Less like Tumblr, and more like… Medium?

But then he seems to counter that:

As we continue to develop and redesign the publication system, we are also working to expand and improve the Medium network for the individual writer. While being in a publication is a great way to reach new audiences, we believe your own connections on Medium are an extremely powerful form of distribution, and we are constantly building new tools and features to expand the discovery of your writing on Medium.

We also recognize the desire to and value of curating stories on Medium, and continue to expand the means to do this. With the new ability to embed Medium stories on Medium, many users have begun creating periodic postsof their favorite finds.

So now I am confused again. But maybe supporting the individual writer is necessary in several ways. First, users have to login to use Medium actively, and an account includes the capacity to post. Second, those with good writing chops can create or join publications after becoming acclimated with Medium.

Sounds like I need to create a publication. Or join one.

Originally published at

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

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