But can it really be both a platform for this stream-of-consciousness conversation and for the long-form stuff that people take days and weeks to create and that doesn’t fit into that flow?
Well, yes. ☺ We are optimistic that Medium can be both short- and long-form. Our evidence for this comes from several things:
Blogging. Historically, blogs were (well, still are) a mix of stream-of-consciousness, link-sharing (with or without commentary), and longer stories or articles. That’s the way I and my friends used to blog and many still do. (Here’s a picture of my kid, three posts after a lengthier piece on the future of domain names.) In fact, internally, we were calling this version “bloggy Medium.”
Magazines. We’ve often used magazines as the metaphor for Medium, and you’ll notice that very few magazines are all feature stories. Most have a couple features stories mixed with “front of the book” blurbs, lists, one-page columns, and photo galleries. In the best cases, all this stuff is complementary. Nothing in magazines is stream-of-consciousness, but many things are short.
The Internet. We go back and forth from the meaty to the light weight all day long on the web. Commentary and reporting. Snapshots and long-form posts. Our brains jump from one thing to another all day long, and we figure it out. Is it a challenge to do this under one system? It is — both from a design and brand standpoint. But we don’t think it’s impossible. And if we get it right, it’s going to be great.
To be clear, Medium is still for ideas and stories, not status updates. It’s not about social interactions (though there is a very important people component), and it’s not real-time. We think there’s a wide open middle-ground between what happens on social media and what happens in more formal publishing. This middle ground is where Medium has always intended to be.