Is redefining social?

There is a definite trend towards a more personal and real internet, especially on Medium. And it’s something I wish to see more of. It’s a…

There is a definite trend towards a more personal and real internet, especially on Medium. And it’s something I wish to see more of. It’s a different kind of social. While Medium is not by any definition a social network, there is a really large social element that stands out more for me than the current social networks: the interactions are more honest and real, and I get this feeling that people can remove the mask, and be themselves, write about themselves or their ideals and views more honestly, without fear of backlash or being labelled. Medium has recognised this and updated their terms and conditions to ensure that people have a *cough* medium to be able to be themselves/open without fear.

It’s been almost 8 months since I deactivated my Facebook account, and my Twitter usage has diminished to mostly Buffer-ed posts of things I read on Medium. Aside from Instagram — which seems to be seeing an increase in reposts and quotes — I don’t log on to any of the social networks that once took up a large portion of my day and I have no desire to. There is too much noise. It’s not to say I am not grateful of what Twitter and Facebook have given me in the past — I wouldn’t have gone out with Jane all those years ago had she not contacted me via the then primitive Facebook Chat and while our chapters are coming to an end, I wouldn’t have had two amazing sons that are my major source of inspiration and motivation. I wouldn’t have many of my clients that I now have, had I not had a Twitter account — but at the moment, it feels like you’re just another cog in an infinitely larger machine that will keep turning, with or without you, and maybe it’s me, but it feels like that ship has sailed.

But Medium, in my opinion, is one of many new kinds of social, and I hope to see more platforms emerge that speak to a certain type of person and open us up to more honesty and a more real online experience, especially as we are more and more connected to others and spend our lives online.

Maybe it has to do with the people and publications that I follow on Medium, and maybe it’s because I have been in a more open phase of life, that it appeals to me so much now. It definitely speaks to me on a more personal level. It helps that I like to read and that I’ve written more since joining Medium. It’s a homepage app on my iPhone. It’s the app I open the most during my limited free time and it’s the app I usually have open when I climb into bed to sleep — reading helps my mind switch off.

I’ve subconsciously connected with some of the people I follow or who’s articles I read, on a personal level that if I had to bump into them in the street, they would not be a complete stranger. Other’s articles have either inspired me or opened my mind to things I was either unaware of or had no idea would mean something to me. I follow writers, startup owners, people who’ve lost it all and started again, people I respect in the industry, and some regular folk, like you and I, that I probably wouldn’t have ever come across before.

I know that we’ve had blogs (I have had a few of my own) and that a lot of people haven’t changed their persona from their blog to Medium, but in the days prior, you had to know of their URL, or be referred via link on the other social networks to discover them. Medium has opened and widened this discovery for me. In a simple term, Medium is the RSS feed reader I always wanted, but never could find. It aggregates the content, by their algorithms and my nudging — reading/recommending or sharing, that I want to read. I find inspiration in the content I absorb on Medium, and it definitely helps that it’s very pretty and that the UX/UI is aimed at making sure you get the content you consume in the best possible format. The more recent changes to Medium have opened that discovery even wider. Responses to articles written by those I follow are now prominent, thus widening the options even more.

Medium is not perfect, but it’s perfect for me, so much so that I am transitioning my personal blog to Medium and will move my company blog here too, even though it’s something I just setup. The audience is here, the content is here, and the social element — at least for me — is here. It’s not a way to share things with my family (I have iMessage and reluctantly after almost 8 months, Whatsapp, again, if I need to share images) but it doesn’t need to be that.

I guess that begs the question: Is redefining social?

It is, for me.