Medium Are Taking Cues From Snapchat and Instagram on Their Mobile App

Digital Trends
Medium - the journaling platform spawned by Twitter co-founder Evan Williams - isn't a social media platform in the traditional sense, but it does use some of the more practical aspects of them to function. Anyone can create and promote content on Medium, but where it succeeds over Blogger and Wordpress (for the layman anyway) is the tools it gives you to increase the reach of your content.

Medium users are interconnected, and the platform encourages you to communicate with the people you follow to create wider networks, sharing material between each other. Medium was initially started to create something akin to Twitter without the 140-character limit, and has been described as a bridge between Williams's two other main past enterprises - Twitter and Blogger.

Now, Medium's mobile app is picking up a few new social media tricks, sourced mainly from the content delivery methods seen on Snapchat and Instagram. The main new feature being added is called Series, and it works by combining images, photographs, text and GIFs to create storied posts which can be viewed card by card. That is, in essence, the same as a Snapchat story or Instagram story.

It would be remiss of me not to point out that it's copycatting, just like it was when Facebook did it, but in a way, by stealing the concept, Facebook made it public domain - if they can use it, surely everyone can. I'm not saying it's a good thing, but I'd rather live in a world where Snapchat's ideas are being recycled by lots of other platforms than just Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram.

In Medium's case, the Series posts don't vanish with time, so in a way it's more comparable to Twitter Moments, which actually predates any of the others at least in terms of when development began. What Medium are trying to do here is make the app a more flashy, engaging service. With talking of them moving over to a subscription based service, the need to draw more users in has never been greater. People tend to abandon ship when they find out that there's a fee involved.

Here's the real kicker though - you can carry on adding content to a Series even after it's been published. Users can 'follow' Series, which means they'll get push notifications every time a new chapter is bolted on. Creators can keep an eye on positive responses in order to figure out which Series should get regular updates, and when to draw them to a close. It'll be heavily dependent on context, of course, but it opens up a lot of interesting avenues.

A few heavy hitters have already posted Series, including Bernie Sanders and Melinda Gates, so it's easy to jump on Medium and get acquainted with it. You can view them on any version of the platform but at present you can only create them on iOS. There's a tab which shows you Series created by people you follow, and editorial picks. Snapchat clone or otherwise, Medium is an entirely different beast to the other platforms using this structure, and it's going to be very interesting to see what people end up doing with it.

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