Medium just had a moment. Former Republican nominee Mitt Romney just announced he would not be running for president in 2016 on the new writing platform of Twitter cofounder Ev Williams. With wild speculation consuming the press for days, Romney could have announced this decision on any news network or tech platform on the planet.
Yet, to express a historically significant decision in the face of global attention, Romney evidently felt that the not-yet-mainstream writing platform was the best way to convey an idea. For Williams’ growing startup, it’s a huge win. Indeed, on Facebook, the old announcement standby, Romney just wrote a sentence and linked to his Medium post.
Political leaders have increasingly come to see Medium as a place to convey ideas. President Barack Obama has written an op-ed there and, most recently, posted the script to his State of the Union before the speech.
But Obama didn’t announce anything novel, and lots of outlets had access to the State of the Union script. For a long time, Medium has just been one more place to broadcast a message.
As of late, however, it’s become a place for people with large audiences to pen heartfelt ideas. After YouTube celebrity Hank Green endured vicious criticism for his interview of President Obama, he took to Medium to defend his questions. His well-followed YouTube channel, evidently, was not the best way to convey his argument to a mass audience.
So, why Medium? Well, Mitt isn’t returning my calls, but as someone who’s been trying it out since its inception, I can understand the appeal. It’s super simple; just a few tools for basic font changes and Medium’s responsive design is guaranteed to work on almost any device and browser. No complicated setup.
The entire user interface is meant to get users writing as quickly and seamlessly as possible. For a guy like Mitt Romney, who probably isn’t a gadget junkie, it’s nice to focus on nothing but the words.
“It’s true: @Medium has the best web-based editor I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen them all,” tweeted noted technologist Anil Dash back in 2012.
Williams once told me he has ambitious plans for Medium. He wants it to be the place where everyone can tell their one big idea. A potential presidential candidate agrees with this vision, and that’s a very good sign.