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Kevin Marks

The Web is the network

2 min read

Ev Williams wrote an essay about medium where he talks about how a network adds value to a piece of standalone writing:

…people love writing on Medium, even if they see it as just a tool to create a nice page to point people to from Twitter.
However, that’s not the point. Or, at least, that’s not the end. In the last few months, we’ve shifted more of our attention on the product side from creating tool value to creating network value.

He then goes on to talk about ways the network can add value:

But the more interesting bit of network value we’re starting to see a lot more of is qualitative feedback. Highlights is one of my favorite example of this…

…When I’m reading something and come across a highlight from someone I follow, it immediately makes the passage and, indeed, the whole piece, more meaningful and memorable.

Responses are the other big thing that’s leveraging both the power of the open Medium platform and the growing network tying it together.

The word ‘open’ there slipped in— yet Medium is not open, it is a separated off piece of the web without a posting API even, let alone standards integration.

The Indieweb approach has a lot in common with Ev's ideas for Medium, but the key difference is that we are doing it in a way that works across websites, not just within one. We can use an editor on one site to post to another using micropub, even to silos. We have ways to highlight based on fragmentions, and a very simple way to connect responses together using webmention. Ev concedes this a little:

…the ability for Medium responses to live on their own gives both more motivation to invest in them (as a creator) and more likelihood the significant ones will be found. (For old-schoolers: Yes, like Trackbacks.)

Webmention is a evolution of the trackback approach that doesn't require you to write on Ev's website. It would be straightforward for Medium’s brilliant engineers to integrate these approaches, rather than to persuade everyone to write and post in one place.

silo copy on Medium