Every day, both new and established writers flock to Medium to share their ideas. They come because Medium makes it easy to write, to share, and to find new audiences for their work. These are the inherent advantages of a networked platform — ease of use and network effects. You can create and publish without any technical overhead, and you can easily get connected to other writers and readers. But we also recognize that there is sometimes a downside to platforms. They can create a sense of sameness, where everyone’s stories and spaces start to feel similar to one another. There can be a flattening of expression that constrains the creative power of the web for writers, and provides less context for readers.
We know how important it is for creators to be able to not just make a space on the internet for their work, but to make their own space, to create context and a sense of place, and to establish their personal brands. While we believe that the Medium platform and network provide incredible advantages for writers, we also believe that our platform should inherit the power and creativity of the open web, not be walled off from it. We want to enable you to make Medium uniquely yours, and we are working on a set of features that will bring more of the flexibility and expression of the web into your Medium experience.
Today we’re inviting you to sign up for our private beta to try out these new tools and share your feedback. Here’s a brief overview of what new capabilities you’ll find:
Expressive look and feel
Our new beta includes tools that enable you to have more control over visual expression. We’re launching with a foundational set of controls around color, headers, type, and branding so that you can make a space on Medium that is uniquely yours. And this is just the beginning: we intend to evolve and build on these features over time, giving you even more flexibility to make Medium your own.
Most digital media experiences are full of friction: you are presented with an array of headlines and have to constantly decide, “Do I care enough to click?”
As a result, we spend much of our time online skimming, evaluating, and browsing, often ending up more overwhelmed than enlightened. In comparison, experiences like magazines, blogs, or feed-based social apps draw you into content immediately.
Our new beta brings an inline reading experience to Medium publications that aims to create a more immediate and inviting space for readers to dive in. Readers can seamlessly start enjoying your stories right from your home page, and story pages have new footers that allow readers to easily move right to the next story without friction. It’s a more immersive experience that truly puts your content first.
Medium has been a rich environment for, well, medium-length stories. But we want to allow space for a wider range of expression on the platform. Sometimes, you may not want to write a whole story, but instead want to post an interesting quote, link to a great article, or share a beautiful photo. Our new inline reading experience provides a natural space to experience short-form content, and we’ve relaxed our story requirements so that you can easily share something that doesn’t follow the format of a traditional story.
These new features are complemented by other recent updates we’ve made to Medium. As part of the beta, you will also have access to our Newsletters product, giving you new ways to build relationships and share stories with your Medium audience. And readers will be able to comment on your stories using our updated Responses, which provide a more integrated way to give feedback and facilitate conversations. You can already see some of these features on Medium publications like OneZero and Momentum, as well as some of our staff members’ blogs, like Evhead and Ethical Futures Lab.
We will be opening these features up to private beta over the next few weeks. We look forward to seeing what you create and hearing your feedback!
Update, October 14
Our new publishing tools are now available to all Medium publications! In addition, if you are an individual writer, you don’t need to start a publication to get all of these benefits. Starting today, every Medium writer now has a space that can be every bit as distinct as the stories they publish in it. Read Ritwik’s update below to learn more about your new profile.