Medium Becomes A More Full-Featured Writing Platform, Adds Stats And Explains Lack Of Commenting

We’ve told you a bit about the latest writing and blogging platform from Ev Williams’ new product, Medium, and the team has been incrementally adding things, and talent, to the service to make it a full-featured interactive service. It’s been fun watching it evolve, albeit in private, read-only beta, and you can start to see a fuller picture of what it can be.

In an email to Medium users last night, the team shared some new functionality that will allow writers and readers to dive a bit deeper into the content that they see in front of them. The really interesting thing is that Medium discusses its thoughts on “commenting”, which I think you’ll find refreshing:

Stats: As of this afternoon, you can see what kind of attention your posts are getting and how people are reacting to them. The goal of Medium is to enable and support quality, rather than just popularity, so our philosophy around stats is that we need to provide meaningful metrics. Medium stats provide feedback that normal web analytics don’t give you.

Reader Interaction: One thing you may have noticed about Medium is its lack of comments at the bottom of pages—which seems to have become an unfortunately ubiquitous feature of the web. We believe that normal web comments don’t add a lot of value on average (at least of the type we’re looking to create). However, we do think there is value to be had in reader feedback and interactivity. So, we’re working on a way of allowing reader participation (on an optional basis) that offers something new and different that comments don’t. We hope to have it on the site (at least to test out) by mid-January.

As far as stats go, the Medium dashboard is pretty simple and what you’d expect. Until now, as a writer, you’d only be notified if your post was added to a “Collection,” a way of someone re-sharing your piece. This gives you more of an idea of how many people actually read your story:


But wait, there’s a stat called “reads,” which is different than “views.” This means that the team is working on a way to figure out how many people actually made it through your story and didn’t just click and glance. That’s huge for writers, and, at the end of the day, readers. Knowing what you’ve really read, or even close to it, is an amazing statistic to try and crack. The dashboard also shows “recommendations,” which of course is the action you can take on a piece you’ve enjoyed, which pushes it up to being featured on the site.

As far as reader interaction, as mentioned, something will be coming in “mid-January”, which is definitely something to watch out for.

It’s nice to see Williams with team Obvious try to tackle publishing on the web, as they’ve done before with Blogger, and of course Twitter. There are still things to try out, test and learn from how people write and consume content. It’s a smart bet to watch what this team does because of its experience, but also because they are in a mode of taking their time and seeing what works.

Whenever you see a well-established team, much like Path, taking its time to make beautiful things, you simply have to take notice. They are the most dangerous when it comes to disruption.

Says Ev Williams and the Medium team:

Our goal is to make Medium the best place for you to write. We haven’t reached that aspiration quite yet.

Time will tell, and Medium has a lot of time. They’re not the only ones working on building publishing platforms, as we’ve found that Quora might be doing the same.

[Photo credit: Flickr]