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The internet was started without the expectation that we’d have to do that online.”Writers want readers and, usually, money. Abby Norman, then in her early 20s and working for the medical records department of a Maine hospital, was pulled in.forge relationships with writers and editors,” she says. The inevitable solution: People will have to pay for quality content.”Mr. Some publications have had significant increases since the election of Mr. Medium declined to say how many subscribers it has, saying that its effort is still informal.Readers want to be entertained, instructed or outraged. Yet no one has come up with a satisfactory and sustainable way of harnessing the internet to satisfy all these parties without descending into sleaze and clickbait.“Now that we’ve made sharing information virtually effortless, how do we increase , while also creating a level playing field that encourages ideas that come from anywhere? “They seduced me into this idea, that I had stuff worth saying.”Ms. But as Medium grew more popular with writers, she competed to be heard above the din, and struggled to find people that she herself wanted to read on the site.“Now being here is work, and it’s not ‘digging for buried treasure’ fun work, either,” she wrote on Medium last September. In any case, it’s not going to be an online magazine. Williams resists the notion that Medium should be seen as a traditional publisher, commissioning, editing and making stuff available. Bookstores don’t commission material, but they curate it and sell it. ”As Medium struggles to define itself, the older new communications platforms — Google, Facebook, Twitter — are trying to deal with their unexpected toxicity. Twitter is a hive of trolling and abuse that it seems unable to stop. Williams isn’t the only one trying to fix this mess, of course. Its ambition: define a new model for media in a world struggling under the weight of fake or worthless content. “And it’s a lot more obvious to a lot of people that it’s broken.”People are using Facebook to showcase suicides, beatings and murder, in real time. Williams has been refining a communications platform called Medium.SAN FRANCISCO — Evan Williams is the guy who opened up Pandora’s box. Four out of 10 adult internet users said in a Pew survey that they had been harassed online. Say you’re driving down the road and see a car crash. It is supposed to be a force for good.“A beautiful space for reading and writing — and little else,” Mr.Until he came along, people had few places to go with their overflowing emotions and wild opinions, other than writing a letter to the newspaper or haranguing the neighbors. Williams — a Twitter founder, a co-creator of Blogger — set everyone free, providing tools to address the world. And that was before the presidential campaign heated up last year.“I thought once everybody could speak freely and exchange information and ideas, the world is automatically going to be a better place,” Mr. “I was wrong about that.”The Silicon Valley entrepreneur first drew notice during the dot-com boom, for developing software that allowed users to easily set up a website for broadcasting their thoughts: blogging. Williams called Medium at its public debut in 2012.
The darkest theory about the failure of Medium to catch on as an influential writing site comes from Cliff Watson, a 46-year-old advertising executive and onetime Medium contributor from Omaha.
Williams noted that Silicon Valley has a tendency to see itself as a Prometheus, stealing fire from selfish gatekeeper gods and bestowing it on mere mortals.
“What we tend to forget is that Zeus was so pissed at Prometheus that he chained him to a rock so eagles could peck out his guts for eternity,” Mr. “Some would say that’s what we deserve for giving the power of tweets to Donald Trump.”Mr.
And it continues to strive for the broadest possible reach, welcoming all sorts of untested writers, though that may be changing.
Medium’s latest incarnation, unveiled in late March, included a monthly subscription for premium writing. “Ev Williams Has Lost His Goddamn Mind,” ran the headline in The Next Web, an online publication. He looks more like a Beatnik poet, staying up until dawn to debate existentialism, than the son of a Nebraska farmer, which he is.