What happens when you cross Pinterest and WordPress? .
Obvious is the latest company to offer its own blogging platform. Medium is designed to allow people to choose the level of contribution they prefer and is substantially visual. Obvious Corp still has much to prove following the launch of Medium, a very visual web publishing platform.
Can an impressive pedigree guarantee success in a crowded market? Or do you still need to offer an innovative product to tempt users away from their existing tools? Obvious Corp. is about to find out.
Backed by Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone plus the rest of the Obvious crew, Medium could democratize content distribution. The way Twitter’s retweets gave anyone with 140 characters of brilliance a way to spread across the web, Medium could do the same for longer thoughts.
While you can’t ignore the heritage it’s abundantly clear that Medium is a next generation blogging tool, its play for the CMS could be viewed as a smart one following the recent ‘laissez faire’ attitude adopted by the larger web publishing companies. It cannot be argued that the task of taking on the big boys – WordPress for example currently powers 16% of all websites – is a bold one, however if Obvious can produce a quality platform that appeals to existing bloggers, they could steal custom from right under the nose of the more established firms.
Using CMS to Up the Ante
Current providers such as Tumblr are unable to compete with WordPress and tempt away dedicated bloggers as they lack the back-end functionality. By getting to grips with this content management system issue and offering serious add-ons to the user experience, Obvious could really be onto something.
Through its own blog, the company explains: “[We] 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 …Medium is designed to allow people to choose the level of contribution they prefer.”
However, one slight fly in the ointment may be the design of the site and the fact that it relies so heavily on visual, rather than written content. This little fact might be the one thing that prevents Medium from becoming the David to the WordPress Goliath.
Is Medium a Serious Threat?
According to industry experts, attempting to take on the WordPresses of the world would be a pointless exercise anyway. What appears to be happening is that perhaps through Medium, Obvious is shining a light towards a new path and giving technology a nudge in a new direction. Rather than reinventing the wheel, they’ve developed a new, more effective tyre – albeit with a fancy CMS.
On the outside Medium, which is due to launch widely in the next few months, owes much to Pinterest. With a tessellated interface that fills the browser window with large images that seem to be dotted liberally over the web at the moment and there’s more emphasis on subjects or ‘collections’, than on the aforementioned written content.
Simply put, the site collates submitted content (images or text) into pre-determined collections that anyone can read or comment on. You don’t need followers to be heard on Medium. It is hoped that this latest social media offering can democratize the thoughts of millions. In the same way that anyone who managed to generate enough retweets could be heard across the globe, so Medium could offer the same platform for those who may be prone to slightly longer ponderings.