Medium, the blogging platform known for its long-form, in-depth articles is revamping itself to encourage shorter and more searchable articles. Twitter co-founder and Medium CEO Evan Williams said the site was never intended for just long-form writing and wants to encourage more posts from non-professional writers.
The primary change is a new, Twitter-like inline editor that sits at the top of your Medium homepage to encourage writers to post ideas as soon as they pop into their heads. No title is required and editing options are limited to promote quick publication which can be done with just one click.
Streams on the Medium homepage also get a new look. Short summaries of stories are on view and users can share and recommend stories from here without reading the full articles. Lastly, users can now also add tags to their stories to help make them more searchable and discoverable.
In a short 500-word post, Williams describes the reasons for the site revamp: "It was not our intention, however, to create a platform just for 'long-form' content or where people feel intimidated to publish if they're not a professional writer or a famous person (something we've heard many times)."
Obviously, Williams wants to broaden the appeal of his platform by encouraging people to post and share ideas rather than polished, full feature-length articles.
"Sometimes you need to get a thought out in an incomplete form in order for it to grow - - by bumping into other brains and breathing in fresh air," he writes. "We know that length is not a measure of thoughtfulness."
The minimalist design will remain the same, as well as the basic concept of more popular posts appearing at the top of your homepage. To be fair to Williams the new design seems to stay true to his original vision for the site when he described Medium as a place for "stories that make your day better and manifestos that change the world", as written in the opening blog post back in August 2012.
It might seem a risky departure for a publication that has built a userbase based on its reputation for long-form journalism, something that stands out in an era of shortening attention spans and social media-driven news.
Shorter articles may appeal to a wider audience of bloggers and readers and put it in competition with the likes of Tumblr. It seems whilst long-form is still welcome that in order to really grow a publishing site you must encourage more engagement, sharing and participation of the masses.
Photo Credit: Medium