Medium's New Collaborative Publishing Feature Encourages Authors To Create Better Things, Together

Medium's hypothesis has always been that people create better things when they work together. The publishing platform's newest tool helps its authors do just that.

Biz Stone and Ev Williams' founding mantra for Medium, the publishing platform they launched last August, was, "People create better things together."

Medium's newest feature is a collaborative writing tool signals a sea change for writing on the Internet, together: It allows authors to privately solicit and incorporate feedback from others.

"[Medium is] a place where you can work with others to create something better than you can on your own," Williams wrote in a post back when the platform was still in closed beta.

Medium has long offered a "notes" feature that allows anyone to leave in-text comments for post authors. But the new collaborators feature will allow authors to proactively reach out to specific people to ask for feedback; if they choose to incorporate suggested changes, those contributors will be automatically credited in a new "Thanks to" section in the public post.

Of course, the idea of having multiple contributors to a blog isn't new--Wikipedia could easily be considered the overlord of the collaborative creation movement. But platforms such as Medium are beginning to introduce specific tools that encourage co-creation at the author's most basic level: the writing of sentences.

Editorially, a newly launched web-based writing and editing platform, is another startup attempting to facilitate co-creation, while eliminating the need to email Word docs back-and-forth.

"We wanted something really web-native and social, instead, that could allow people to work in a way that felt natural, instead of getting in their way,” Editorially cofounder Mandy Brown told Co.Design.

If collaborative writing tools become de rigueur for the new wave of blogging platforms, they could have the potential to change the way we author sentences on the web, not unlike the way Github's forking feature changed the way developers create and co-create code. Welcome to the Githubification of blogging.

[Image: Flickr user Unhindered by Talent]

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1 Comments

  • Nollind Whachell

    This is missing a much bigger opportunity. That being social reading which is starting to become more and more popular with services like Readmill.com and DotDotDot.me which allow you to highlight and annotate books and articles.

    For example, with this setup my annotations are only seen by the author which is nice but completely useless in a greater social capacity (unless he makes it visible which is highly unlikely). Where this really becomes useful is in adding your annotations and letting your followers selectively see those annotations when viewing the page. Thus it avoids a chaotic mess of annotations by focusing on those that are relationally meaningful to you.