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Posts Tagged ‘geo:lon=172.63319961562502’

Medium – The New Social Share Site

From the makers of Blogger comes “Medium”.

social media site mediumThirteen years ago a radical idea changed the world wide web – anyone anywhere could suddenly publish their thoughts to the global internet audience through a free platform called Blogger (now owned by Google). The brains behind Blogger – Evan Williams and Christopher ‘Biz‘ Stone – are now trying to repeat history by building a new publishing platform from scratch. Called ‘Medium’, the new platform aims to redress the major flaw with social media and blogging communities – most services have lowered the bar for sharing information, making quality content hard to find.

The Obvious Corporation have taken on this project as they believe media is still the ‘connective tissue of society’. Williams and Stone are trying to re-imagine publishing in an attempt to make an evolutionary leap forward – they want to build a community where quality content always trumps quantity. Unlike Blogger, users posting on Medium wont have the burden of building an audience. Instead, they can focus on posting quality content, organised into ‘collections’. Collections are designed to give people a context to publish their own stories, photos and ideas. Users then rate the posts they visit, culminating in the highest-rated posts showing up at the top of the page, a democratic process designed to help users find the best posts easily. A green bull’s eye with a score from one to ten indicates how many viewers voted for the post.

Inside Medium

The developers of Medium are still in the testing phase and posting privileges are limited to a small invited list of friends and family of the founders. As a Beta member, I was still able to view and vote on content, which currently included the boards ‘Been There, Loved That’, a beautiful collection of photos from around the world.

seo new zealanddesign

A particular favourite was the collection titled ‘Look What I’ve Made’, which included ‘Orwell’s Firewall’ – a router constructed from the decayed remains of an HP 80138 Pulse Generator. The device plays homage to Orwell’s 1984 novel with the name MINITRUE (short for the Ministry of Truth). The blinking lights are reminders that data is sent into a world of systems, corporations and governments that do not always share the maker’s own values of openess, transparency or privacy.

ministry of truth


‘The Writer’s Room’, was a collection that displayed the musings on the mental forces involved in writing and advice on how to grapple with the sometimes overwhelming drive to procrastinate. ‘The Obvious Collection’ was an ode to the company behind the Medium project – The Obvious Corporation – and had articles on collaboration in business.

Will it be any good?

With such lofty goals, Medium looks set to fail in it’s modus operandi. Like every other social media site that gets users to vote or ‘like’ content, quality content will simply be replaced by ‘popular’ content. Popular does not equal quality, and some would argue that it is inversely related. The Medium community will only be as good as its users – it looks good now because it has few users and fits a particular taste. As soon as Medium becomes popular, its ‘taste’ and ‘feel’ will degrade to the mainstream norm and we will be back where we started (drowning in a deluge of poor quality content).

However, where Medium can succeed is in its attempt to be the antithesis of the noisy Twitter feed. Posting on Medium looks elegant and easy and the good design will appeal to people wanting a less busy interface.

Have you got your Google mugshot?

Google wants your photo.

In what seems like a desperate attempt to get more people to use the very limp Google Plus social network, or to get people to hand over more of their personal information, Google is trialling the display of author information (i.e. your mugshot) in search results. If you are an author, you now have the opportunity to display a recognisable head photograph next to the articles that you have written or contributed to when they appear in the search results. According to Google, author mugshots will:

help users to discover great content

but refuses to say exactly how.

The main catch with the ‘mugshot-enhanced-search’ is that you need a Google Plus profile to activate the feature. No other social network even gets a look-in. After activating your profile in the lonely expanses of Google Plus, you need to upload the most criminal-looking mugshot you can find (preferably a police photograph, a booking photograph, or a photographic portrait taken after you were last arrested). You then have 2 options to link the mugshot to your author content:

  1. Link with a verified email address (an email address on the same domain as your content), or
  2. Link your content using the ?rel=author parameter.

The final step is to list your blog or website on your Google Plus profile ‘about’ page and list yourself as a ‘contributor’.

Invented by Allan Pinkerton in the 19th century, mugshots first gained popularity on Wanted posters in the Wild West days. Since the advent of computer technology, accused people no longer need to hold a placard with their name, DOB, and–god forbid–weight.

As usual, Google makes no guarantee that they will display your mugshot. They refuse to reveal the criteria whereby they rank photographs, but our initial research seems to reveal that fat or slightly chubby people seem to rank higher, leading for calls from search engine optimisation professionals to reintroduce weight-revealing placards.

If we are going to be outranked by chubbys, we need to know by how many pizzas.

google search engine optimized mugshot