Lauren Goode

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Twitter Co-Founders’ New Site, Medium, Will Open to Public in New Year

Medium, the new publishing platform created by Twitter co-founders Ev Williams and Biz Stone, is currently only open to a couple hundred “early adopters” who have crafted interesting stories and essays on specific topics.

But that will change after the first of the new year, Williams said, when the lightweight publishing site becomes more widely available to the public.

Williams, who now runs Obvious Corporation with Stone, took a few minutes to chat last night after an event in New York City, where he sat on a panel with BuzzFeed founder Jonah Peretti and Josh Miller, the founder of another Obvious-backed company called Branch.

The trio touched upon varying aspects of the future of digital content production and distribution, topics that would probably be boring to normal folk but enthralled the who’s-who of New York’s tech and digital media scene.

A few key points: Williams would like to keep Medium relatively high-quality, though he recognizes that, in publishing, low barriers to entry feed the content machine by making people feel good, thus spurring them to share more content (Instagram, Williams noted, is a key example of this). Also, he believes more and more media consumption will come via networks and platforms instead of individual websites.

“If you’re a Web publisher, you’re primarily paying attention to page views,” he said. “But whether people are actually reading your stuff, whether they’re on the page for five seconds or five minutes, is something we’re looking to measure.”

Williams also said that he believes valuable content can come “from anyone” — though, at the moment, not just anyone can fully access the site.

Williams later said that Medium — aptly described by my AllThingsD colleague Liz Gannes, following its launch last month, as a “collaborative publishing platform” — would open to the public sometime next year, and that despite its singularly-focused branding, would be open to media beyond blogs and texts, including videos and photos.

Medium will use basic Web algorithms that push popular stories up the content pile, Williams said, much in the way Google works. So highest-rated posts will appear at the top of the Web page, while the rest tile down.

“So much of Twitter’s value comes from real time,” Williams said during the panel. “I just think there’s room for other things.”


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work