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Medium needs to make more of Mastodon
Substack has been making waves with its Notes feature in recent weeks. Yes it has some real vulnerabilities around moderation, exposed in…
Substack has been making waves with its Notes feature in recent weeks. Yes it has some real vulnerabilities around moderation, exposed in Chris Best’s disastrous interview with Nilay Patel of The Verge, but it is already getting traction with writers on the platform. The very fact that those using the platform seem, at least for now, to be writers themselves means that the conversations there have a real energy to them — and little of the trolling already seen on Dorsey’s new BlueSky platform. It has a very different feel to the free-for-all that is Twitter.
I bring this up because Medium have the chance to do something similar with their own new Mastodon instance.
I think it’s a great idea for publication platforms like Medium to get involved in a federated social system like Mastodon. The local feed of the instance can serve as a moderated environment for Medium writers to share and discuss their work as well as reaching a wider audience through the federated feed. It is like the smaller community that Substack has created with Notes joined with the potential reach of the wider fediverse.
And yet you would barely know that Medium has their own instance.
We need a ‘Share to Mastodon’ button
We can share stories to Twitter but there is no similar ability to share to Mastodon. Medium actively points to an outside service (Twitter) rather than one of its own, over which it has control and potential profit thanks to the instance being tied to a Medium premium subscription.
Of course, this may just be because Medium’s integration with the fediverse is just beginning. It has only been a few weeks and it’s easy to imagine that Medium is still testing the waters before it commits fully by introducing Mastodon posting buttons in stories. Or it may be because Medium is still cautious about how integration with the fediverse might impact its bottom line. Medium can’t fully integrate with federated systems like ActivityPub in its main platform because that would undermine the revenue that comes from the premium subscription — no one would pay if they could just access articles through ActivityPub in another app. But there is real potential in having a moderated environment like the local feed of a Mastodon account to drum up interest, connections and support.
Considering how well it is working for Substack, I think it’s worth a try.
As long as we can keep the trolls away.
Ollie Francis is a fiction writer who writes about becoming a better writer by writing things about writing writing writing writingwritingwrtngwrtng
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