With Medium, Twitter founders want to ‘reimagine publishing’ — again

Evan Williams and Biz Stone

Twitter founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone are at it again. Having launched two new publishing platforms — Blogger in 1999 and, more recently, Twitter – the duo unveiled a new platform Tuesday that wants to make an “evolutionary leap,” based on what the pair has learned over the past 13 years.

Called Medium, the new collaborative publishing tool lets different people contribute as much or as little as they want to themed “collections” of content. The idea, the founders said in a blog post Tuesday, is that people should be able to publish without “the burden of becoming a blogger” and worrying about developing an audience. The layout looks a lot like Pinterest, but contributions include both pictures and text.

“The Obvious Corporation decided to take on the project of building a new publishing platform from scratch, not just because it’s in our wheelhouse, but because we believe publishing—and media, more broadly—is important. It’s easy to forget this given how much pointless and destructive media is in the world. But there’s also more great stuff than ever before—and we haven’t even scratched the surface of what our smart devices and our networks that connect most of the planet might enable.”

Given the founders’ record of launching popular publishing platforms, it will be interesting to see how users respond to this latest venture. But it seems to be part of a growing trend to provide publishing tools that give people an easy way to express themselves through their own writing or curated content. Tumblr has amassed millions of users with a platform that allows people to post messages or images that are longer than a tweet but shorter than a blog post. Earlier this summer, Huffington Post’s former CTO launched social publishing platform RebelMouse.  And, CheckThis, a publishing platform that launched in Belgium and moved to New York this summer, also aims to give people a lighterweight way to publish online.

Currently, anyone with a Twitter account can read and provide feedback on the new platform but only a limited group of invited friends and family can post. The founders say they’ll open the pool of posters soon to those who register here.

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