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Medium: A Better Blogging Platform for Authors?

Everyone’s been talking about Medium lately. Alexis Madrigal wrote a post about it for The Atlantic. I’ve received multiple invitations from writers who are looking for feedback on drafts of work they’ve posted on Medium. Students in my Blogging for Beginners class have been talking about Medium. But what is Medium? And should you be using it?


Screenshot of Medium’s home page taken today.

What Is It?

Medium is a blogging platform founded by Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone in August 2012. But unlike Blogger or WordPress, you have to be invited by another member to join, and, rather than posting to your own blog, you post to the site’s communal blog, where posts are grouped according to broad topics like “American Dreamers,” “Better Humans,” and “Boinkology 101.”

The idea behind Medium, according to the founders, was to provide a place users could post content longer than 140 characters—“Medium”-length content. The site has built its cachet by hiring professional magazine writers to create high-quality content that gets widely circulated through social media sites, thus creating buzz for Medium. But, like on sites like Smashwords and Scribd, there’s a lot of junk, and the amount of junk is increasing as more and more people are invited to join.

How It Works

This is how Medium works: Someone sends you an invitation to comment on a draft of a blog post they wrote on Medium. You read the blog post and comment. (Comments appear in the margins à la Tracking Changes and can be made public or private by the author of the post.) Once that author publishes the post, you receive an invitation to join Medium. Then you can post your own drafts and invite other people to comment and join.

Who Should Use It?

So should you use Medium? I’m on the fence about this. If you already have a blog, I would post all your original content to your own blog first. Then consider reposting it to Medium. After all, if you’re going to write content for free, the least you should get out of it is to build your own platform rather than Medium’s. (And don’t feel it’s any big feat to publish on Medium. Soon the entire world will have been invited to Medium—just like the entire world eventually received invitations to Gmail.)

But some authors argue that posting to Medium allows them to expand their audience. It may, but at the expense of driving more readers to your own website or blog. And how difficult is it to get your post seen on Medium? The editors are going to highlight the pieces they’ve paid professional writers to pen first. Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess how pieces make it to the front page—no different than having a post “pressed” on WordPress. And the more people join, the fewer chances we’ll all have of seeing our posts chosen as Editors’ Picks.

The Pros and Cons

What I like about Medium: The slick interface (Apple fans will love the clean, clutter-free design), the usability (the ability to comment on each paragraph of a draft makes me feel like I’m contributing to a piece’s development, not just responding to a finished draft), and the reader experience. (The “Freelance life” collection is right up my alley, and I love that each post is labeled according to how many minutes it takes to read.)


Screenshot of Medium’s Collections page taken today.

What I don’t like about Medium: It’s one more website profiting from writers’ willingness to give their work away for free. The comments are clunky from a reader’s standpoint. Rather than being able to read all the comments in one nice stream at the bottom of the post, I have to click on the number next to each paragraph to get those comments to appear. The vetting process could be better. I want to read high-quality content—not junk—and I don’t have time to vet it myself.

In Conclusion

Overall, I’d say the jury’s still out on Medium.

What do you think? Have you tried Medium? Have you been successful in using it to route traffic to  your own website or blog, or in increasing your readership? For those of you who haven’t tried it yet, will you?

35 comments to Medium: A Better Blogging Platform for Authors?

  • I’ve written for Medium twice and I enjoyed the experience. I fell in love with the interface the moment I saw it: clean, comfortable, and solely words. I sensed that it was a rare site that respected words and good writing, not just ‘content’. I was drawn to it for several other reasons that you, Meghan, mention: the ease of publishing a ‘blog post’ without having to worry about designing and promoting my blog (which, at this point, doesn’t quite have my full attention), the instant community of Medium writers, who seemed appreciative of good stories, and the possibility of drawing a new audience to my fiction. Since I posted, the rules for who can write posts have become less strict and the editors are now paying some writers for longer pieces. While I understand this is necessary for company growth, I don’t know if it will change the traits of the site that drew me to it in the first place. I also never write for free, and the pieces I published on Medium were not ones I felt belonged anywhere else. So, I think Medium is a work-in-progress, and unless the draw of new viewers becomes markedly higher, I probably won’t publish there unless I’m paid to do so.

  • I've posted four times on Medium now. I like it because:

    – it's easy to use and pretty to look at.
    – it gives me more exposure (I believe) than my regular blog readership
    – it's a great place to put "a la carte" posts that thematically don't necessarily "fit" in either one of my blogs
    – I like the "share draft" feature – I like the collaboration with other writers and also being able to craft and shape a post more thoroughly than I would a 'regular' blog post
    – it gives me a platform to share some random writings of mine that have been lying around without audience sometimes for years. For example, I had a 9/11 piece that I wrote in 2001 (right after the original 9/11) that felt important to re-read and share years later on a 9/11 anniversary
    – I find it interesting to read and have discovered some pieces there that I really have appreciated and enjoyed.
    – I appreciate that Medium does not prohibit; in fact it encourages cross- posting between Medium and your own blog. So it's double the exposure if you want it.

    One the down side:

    – sometimes the navigation of the site (as a writer and a reader) is kind of mysterious, i.e. frustrating and not completely clear
    – no pay (but then again, I don't get paid for my blog so this is not a huge issue)

    • Susan, I like the idea of putting stuff that doesn't fit into either of your blogs onto Medium. It's better to get your work out there than to let it sit on your computer. I'm on the fence about double posting to my own blog and Medium, though. I'd rather route people to my own website than to Medium's.

      • You can put hyper link to your website in your Medium profile. The #1 post so far, with 1million reads was a guy promoting his company ( and he has two hyper links at article end.

  • annerallen

    This is the first I'm hearing of Medium, so thanks much for all the info. While I'm not in favor of anything that robs writers of another chunk of valuable time, I can see its appeal–especially for people who are just starting out building a platform. It probably will help build an audience quicker.

    But the idea of random people commenting on each paragraph causes a bit of trepidation. Trolls could wreak havoc. I hope it's well moderated.

    • You invite people to comment on your draft. That's not open for public commenting. Then, before you publish your draft, you choose which of those comments you want to be viewable and which you want to be hidden. After that, anyone can comment, but you can still choose to hide comments you don't want to be visible.

      • annerallen

        Oh, that's kind of cool! Thanks for the clarification., Meghan.

      • I actually love the comments. It's similar to when you edited my piece – it's a line item comment and I love to feed the feedback monster. For eg my latest piece on "Shaping Your Alter Ego in Cyberspace", I had a gay woman share with me she that she came out online first because it was safer.. It is so rewarding to receive reader experiences like that.

  • Thanks Meghan. This is the first I have heard of Medium and no I won't use it at this time. I have enough to do on my own blog ( and the other wildlife and Africa related blogs I guest post for. I have been told that if I repost the same content from my blog to another site (like you suggest doing here to Medium), Google will 'punish' my blog so I have been told to always provide new content. Any comments on that?

    • Lori, I've heard that too, but I need to look into it more. I write social media posts for SheWrites every other week and double-post those here, and that could be hurting traffic to my blog. I'll let you know what I discover.

  • I was excited when Medium came out and I got an invite because my preferred length of writing is "medium." I'm not a blogger or a novel writer. I've posted three articles on Medium, one made Editor's Pick & front page. It was quite an experience, having your article tweeted to 200K people (as most Editor's Picks are). I had tweet discussions with people in Hawaii & London. It was great & as a writer who is relaunching her career, it was invaluable for my resume, and the experience. I agree as more people join flotsam increases. But their algorithm seems to be the more recs you get, the % that actually finish reading your piece and # of readers place you at the top of the pile. The copyright remains yours, and is generous, you can post and share your piece anywhere you want. So it has actually helped me launch my own blog, with the benefit of the prestigious Medium logo which they also encourage you to download and use. I don't see any downside except maybe publishign here instead of other online markets that are more prestigious. But the pieces I have posted here were just right for Medium – a cross of personal experience and an article. You can see them at

    • Thanks again for your feedback, Kim! It sounds like you're using Medium instead of your own blog, but for people who are posting to their own blog, I'm not sure how beneficial it is to double-post to Medium. Like Lori said above, I've also heard that Google "punishes" bloggers for double-posting content. I need to find out how true that is and whether the traffic lost to your personal site outweighs the readers gained from Medium.

  • Anthony Lee Collins

    I hadn't heard a thing about it, so thanks for the tip. I generally like to maintain control over my content, but some cross-posting could work. I've done guest posts on other blogs, and it seems this would be similar to that.

    I wouldn't do it to get feedback on drafts, because I much prefer feedback from people I know, because then I can filter it based on my knowledge of how they write, what they like, etc . I write mysteries, and I take feedback from a mystery fan very differently than feedback from a science fiction fan, or a "literary" fiction fan, or a person who doesn't read fiction at all. All can be valuable (most of the beta readers I've had have not been mystery fans), but I find feedback is much more useful with context.

    • I guess it's useful if you only send it to writers you know and trust to comment on your drafts. It gives them a convenient "medium" through which to comment. And Medium does have some quality posts, too. Like I said, I love that posts are grouped by subject matter instead of author.

  • Amy

    Thank you so much Meghan for introducing Medium to me. I never knew about this. It seems the better place for bloggers like me.

  • swiveltam

    Oh my, something else new for me to figure out. I'm overwhelmed by this concept, but intrigues. I think I need to see it in action or try it once. Seems a little scary too. Thanks for alerting me to this…I think. 😉

  • yes their are no of bloggers out here but in between of them one is best or a good blogger

  • Meghan I wrote a post about how much I love Medium!

    My bog is about writing. I don't want to risk annoying by readers by posting about politics and social issues on my website. Yet, I get really cranky about some of the crap people do to each other and want to write about it. Medium is the percect medium (sorry, couldn't resist) for me to post about social issues that I think are important, but which don't fit into my blog (which supports my editing business).

    I haven't posted to Medium a lot, but I've connected with some amazing women who share similar interests and have really enjoyed the experience.

    I agree that I wouldn't want to use the site in a way that would draw traffic away from my writing blog – so, I doubt that I will ever put a post about writing, publishing, or editing on Medium. Those are for my personal blog or guest posts.

    By separating my work from my politics, I found a way to get off the fence about Medium. A perfect solution!

  • Hey, Meghan! I just heard an interview with Evan Williams on KQED, and thought of this post. Interestingly enough, Williams didn't disclose how the site actually works– the fact that it is currently invite-only. Your post does a great job of discussing Medium's pros and cons, and it's been helpful seeing people's experiences with it via your comments section. Have the writers you've commented on (on Medium) found it helpful, and have you published anything on Medium yourself since?

    • Meghan Ward

      Want, I haven't published on Medium yet, but the writers I know who use it seem to really like it. I was wondering if it would be possible, even, to use Medium to have writer friends comment on a draft and then NOT publish that draft on Medium. I know that's not what it's meant for, but it could be another tool for writers. Evan Williams came to the Grotto for lunch, but I missed it. Where are you, by the way? Still in Chicago?

      • Hi Meghan,
        I'm actually in SF now! I agree that having a shared platform for writers to get feedback on their work would be a helpful addition to what Medium offers. And it does appear that people have had positive experiences with Medium thus far– another interesting thing to look into. Perhaps we should together again, now that I'm in the city?

  • Thanks Meghan for introducing Medium.I read about this first time.I think it is best place for new bloggers.Thanks once again.

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