Available on: iOS & Android
Our Rating: 🌑🌑🌑🌑🌓
There are plenty of social networks out there that let you share ideas and get your opinions out there. Twitter requires you to be concise, limiting you to only 140 characters per tweet. Facebook lets you get more personal, but still doesn’t really feel like the place to be writing long and detailed informative posts. You could share an insightful piece on LinkedIn or post a picture to Instagram – they do say a picture tells a thousand words. For a place where you can combine all of these, there’s Medium.
Medium is available on iOS, Android and the web, though we’ll only be looking at the mobile side of things. Created by A Medium Corporation, the platform was created as an alternative to Twitter with the goal of allowing users to write much longer posts. It has grown since launching in 2012; becoming something of a blog where any reader can contribute.
Read, Write, React
Once you’ve gone through the usual process of signing up to Medium – which you can do with Facebook, Twitter, Google or email – you can begin your search to find articles on subjects that interest you. In that regard, there’s absolutely loads to choose from. Everything you would expect is there, from technology to politics and then on to humour and so on. Content is separated by topic, not by author, meaning that you can get a wide variety of perspectives and ideas from people who you’ve never heard of.
When it comes to writing a story yourself, it is incredibly straightforward. Tap the icon in the bottom right corner of the screen and start tapping away at your latest masterpiece. The text editor is fairly simple too. You can add images, links, bulleted lists, and apply a few other format changes which will make your story a better read. There are even social media-like mentions you can include to shout out another author.
Once published, your story will appear in the categories you have tagged it in. Medium users can see your publications, leave comments, and recommend it and share for others to read. With more recommendations, the more likely it is that your story will reach a wider audience. Standard stuff, really, and it’s this premise of ‘read, write, react’ that Medium is built on.
Now, onto the features. An app we featured a few weeks ago in our ‘App of the Week’, was Pocket, and after using Medium there are several similarities we can see between the two. Both have a system of bookmarking articles allowing users to find them and read later, and they also enable users to share stories to outside networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Skype. Of course, Medium has plenty of features that help to make it distinctive – namely that content comes from creators who’ve written it within the platform.
There are plenty of features that help you find more interesting content. Tags separate stories into individual categories, and you can choose to view only the posts which have been written for a given subject. There is a search function too, so if you were to type in “mobile apps” you would be able to see all of the stories, people, publications, and tags which match. This provides a direct way of locating the articles that appeal to you the most.
It wouldn’t be a social network if there weren’t some form of analytics to speak of. With Medium you can see a range of statistics for your stories, including how many views, reads and recommendations you’ve had in a given day, week or month. If you’re looking to really get your writing some exposure, this is the perfect place to start.
The process of signing in to the app if you’re not using Facebook, Twitter or Google is quite different than most apps we’ve seen. Rather than having a password, whenever you want to sign in you’ll be sent an email to your account inbox. This will give you link which expires in fifteen minutes, and one which when pressed allows you to access the app. This can be a bit of an inconvenience to have to wait for the email before you can open the app up fully, but it’s a different take on in-app security that would be interesting to see used in other apps.
As a sort of mixture between Twitter and a personal blog, we like Medium and think that it’s a platform which works well with its dedicated user base. It’d be interesting to see how much the content would be impacted if it were to increase. There are already a number of publications which write content specifically for Medium, and it would be great to see more get involved.
A particular feature we did like was the ability to highlight segments of an article, just as a way of saying that you really liked that part. These highlights can be seen by other people reading the same story – a unique way of sharing your opinions without having to even leave a response.
One criticism we did have was to do with the actual writing of stories. There aren’t many tools available, such as different layouts, styles colours, which you would typically see in most text editors. This could of course just be a way of keeping writing in Medium simple, so that anyone can really get into creating content without having to worry about how it appears.