Simone McCallum takes a look at the pros and cons of new(ish) publishing platform Medium.com

Medium.com has been around for a few months. Another brainchild of Twitter founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone, it’s a clean and simple publishing community for posts longer than Twitter’s 140 character limit, but less than a novel. In other words, medium length posts.

The content is arranged in collections – such as Best Thing I Found Online Today, Dear (blank), Food For Thought, IMHO, and many others.

When Medium was launched it was in a closed beta (the only people who like closed betas are people inside closed betas) and publishing access was for a small group, but everyone could read posts. Lately the site has been loosening the reins, slowly letting others start posting on the platform.

I’ve posted on Medium a few times to try it out and here’s what I think:

The bits I like:

• Super easy to use, clean interface and typography, very simple and uncomplicated. No fluffing around with formatting and plugins.
• Readers can add your post into a different category if they like – extending your reach.
• Medium shows you how long (in minutes) it takes to read your post. Great thinking.
• Seamless integration with Twitter (unsurprisingly) – your profile is set up in a couple of clicks or less.
• Commenting is in the form of Notes on each line of your post, rather than at the end of the article.
• You can allow other contributors to review your post before it is published (this is also a quick way to get publishing access to Medium).

The bits that need improving:

• No way to search for someone posting on Medium. You can follow a category but not a person and there’s no way of finding their past posts unless you find their Medium profile.
• Unless you are very popular, it’s difficult to get your post to the top of a category (top posts are voted up by clicking on the Recommend button). This means your post will get lost in the river of stories streaming past – a bit like Twitter really.
• Normal rules of SEO via Google do not seem to apply (no tagging functionality).
•The simple stats available to let you show how many have viewed,  read, commented and recommended your post – but falls for those used to Google Analytics.
• The lack of a support forum is surprising, assistance appears to be via FAQs or email.

As a reader I’ve been loving Medium. I’m consuming new content and articles I wouldn’t have stumbled across before. I set up an RSS feed for the Editors’ Picks category which curates some of the best posts each day.

As a writer I’ve enjoyed the simple interface and uncluttered layout. It will be interesting to watch what happens over time as more and more writers are able to publish on Medium, and without a Follow function how this will impact the reach of the content you write.

Medium is still evolving so it is definitely worth keeping eye on. You can read my posts here over on Medium.

Simone McCallum is a social media strategist at ASB Bank. This post originally appeared on her blog.

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