As Medium seeks to find ways to turn itself around, the company has launched a feature aimed at getting more people reading interesting stories. It’s not exactly an original idea, but it’s a model that has proven to work for companies like Snap and Facebook. On Wednesday, Medium introduced Series, a digestible story format that immediately draws comparisons to Snapchat and Instagram Stories.
“Series are mobile stories that can be added to over time and unfold card by card with the tap of your finger,” wrote company product and engineering team member Katie Zhu. “This is our first step toward building a new way to read on Medium that’s both seamless and serialized.”
Anyone can create and view Series, and Medium has started off with a bunch of content from people like philanthropist Melinda Gates, Senator Bernie Sanders, Free Code Camp’s Quincy Larson, and PR creative Jeff Lewonczyk. And unlike Snapchat and Instagram, Medium makes Series permanent until deleted by the author themselves. You won’t have to worry about a time limit for viewing posts in a Series — there are none.
You can insert text or images into your Series, and they’re discoverable within the Medium app.
To create a Series, you first select from your phone’s camera roll the image you want to be the cover image — it’s best if images are in portrait rather than landscape mode. Then you’ll be presented with “cards” (the first one obviously being the cover image) that you can tap on to customize. If you’re inserting text, you can adjust the size, make something a pull quote, and modify alignment. A Series can be previewed at any time before you publish or update it.
As a reader, you’re going to be shown something within the Medium app that resembles what you’re familiar with on Instagram and Snapchat. At the top are Series that the company wants to promote, followed by those produced by people in your network and an editor’s pick section.
Series can be shared with others, and you can also subscribe to get updates when an author makes an update. When you’re viewing someone’s Series, it will always start where you last left off, so you won’t have to constantly scroll past things you’ve viewed previously.
“Series are not designed for blogging, in the old-school sense. However, Series is inspired by blogging. And [television],” wrote Medium chief executive Evan Williams in a Series about the new feature.
Series can be ongoing or limited based on whatever journey you’re on and wish to share with others, whether it’s about your vacation, your experience learning a new language, advocacy for a specific cause, your college experience, or anything else you can think of.
Previously, authors who wanted to do episodic or installment-based storytelling on Medium would have to do it in multiple standalone posts. Then they’d have to take those posts and assign them into different publications so it’s like reading chapters in an episodic novel.
Unlike Instagram and Snapchat, Medium seems to hope that the type of content produced here will be more thought-inspiring instead of quotidian content documenting what happened on public transit, when you hung out with your friends, or other daily occurrences.
To enable Series, you’ll have to update the Medium app on iOS or Android. Unfortunately Series cannot be viewed on the web.