Medium: an Easy to Use Publishing Platform

Medium.com is an online writing and publishing site combined with a social media element. Anyone can publish and share a story to the site. It’s great for any kind of story you want to share.

Medium creates the opportunity for anyone anywhere to share their story in a professional looking format for others to read. For examples of what these stories could look like you can browse the site without making an account or visit some of the Medium team’s favorite examples here: https://medium.com/beautiful-stories

Making an Account

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You can’t make an account without first connecting with Twitter or Facebook it seems. You have to log in with Twitter or Facebook. I’d recommend Facebook because it uses less of your information. On Facebook, Medium is able to see your email address and friends list. It can’t post anything on your behalf. On Twitter, it can read Tweets from your timeline, see who you follow and follow new people, update your profile for you and even post tweets for you.

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You can edit Medium Facebook settings by logging into Facebook —> Settings —> Apps and you can change things like app visibility and whether it can send you notifications or not.

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Once you connect with Facebook or Twitter and set up your account, you’ll have to complete your registration via verification email.

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Using the Site

On the left side of the Medium.com page you’ll see an M and on the right side you’ll see “Write a new story”. Click that and you can start a draft of a story.

There’s a field to add a title and the rest is for the body of your story.

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To edit your text, highlight it and you’ll get a toolbar that allows you to make it bold, italicized, embed links, add comments or quotes, and change the text to different headers.

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Anywhere you press enter, a + button will show up on the left. This is not to be confused with the + button on the right that allows you to add comments. The + on the left allows you to add photos, videos, slideshows, links, or paragraph breaks. You can position them throughout the story however you want, add captions, and change the side via another toolbar that shows up after you upload.

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I don’t have a story for my data yet, so I uploaded a recent story I did on beard health for YourMag. Here’s a link to my draft: https://medium.com/p/192ee73dd204/edit
I didn’t publish it since it’s meant for another publication, but anyone can view the draft when the draft link is shared with him or her.

Features

Embedding: You can embed videos, photos, tweets, code, and music into your stories. To learn more about that from the Medium team visit: https://medium.com/@Medium/embed-videos-tweets-music-and-more-into-your-medium-stories-3b5c09c116e8

Collections: These are articles collected in one place under a particular topic. They are user created. They are managed by editors within the group so once you submit to a particular collection, the editors of that collection will review it.

Comments: You can add a comment anywhere throughout the story. Let’s say you’re unsure of whether you like your lede paragraph. You can ask readers for feedback in a comment and they can comment back. You can also comment on any published story or any unpublished story when a draft is shared with you.

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Community: You can follow other users on Medium. You should know that if Medium will automatically follow anyone of your Facebook friends or Twitter followers (depending on which you logged in with) that also used Medium to sign in that way. You can view your followers by clicking the M button on the left side and going to your profile and clicking followers. You can follow and unfollow whoever you want. In addition, as you find stories you like you can follow the authors. You can also recommend or comment on stories and even create response posts.

Difficulty Level and Skills
Using Medium is really easy. The interface is easy and nice to use. It’s all very straightforward and all the features are embedded right into the page you use to write or upload your story. The only skills you really need is understanding what all the buttons mean. Writing skills are a plus, but they’re not necessary for being able to publish a story. I would definitely recommend this site to a friend. I think it’s a great tool for publishing any story that you want to tell that you can’t get published anywhere else. It’ll look really nice, too. I would definitely consider using this for my data story because I think it’s really easy to use, embedding visualizations would be easy, and I think it looks professional once it’s published. Plus, I like the community aspect and would happily welcome feedback, questions, comments, and responses to improve it.

Questions?

If you have any questions, concerns, or feedback regarding Medium.com, you can send an email to yourfriends@medium.com

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