The Internet Just Got Whiter, and More Male…

Well at least that’s what they’re saying now with Medium’s acquisition of Matter. What is Matter? No not the fundamental question you heard in high school; Matter is the new longform science and technology platform,  or the other new publishing platform created by Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone. This goes back to the story about “white flight” in social media. To some critics, the idea of new platforms that sift through the rambling and specialize in this new quality content are simply just separating “urban” social media from “mainstream” social media. Or as some say, the black twitter vs white twitter discussion. More details about this ‘new internet’ after the jump.


Matter, the new longform science and technology platform, was acquired yesterday by Medium, the other new publishing platform created by Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone. Launched last fall, Medium is essentially a blog without blog content, a place for valuable, high-quality writing to stand apart from the hordes of rambling blog posts that flood the Web today. If you haven’t heard of either of these new publishing platforms, that’s OK: This is some serious inside tech-and-startup baseball, and that’s the problem.

Williams and Stone weren’t the only entrepreneurs with the idea to create a more structured, less cluttered, and less accessible space on the Web for good content—there’s Svtble, another invite-only blogging platform, Branch, the let’s-move-off-Twitter discussion space, and, the $36-per-year Twitter without the riffraff. All these startups of the “new Internet” are ad-free and charge for admission. (Branch is slightly different: free to start a discussion, but participation by invite-only.)

The Kickstarter-funded Matter, which Williams backed, raised $140,000 in February 2012 and began publishing one long article per month in November, available to members for a subscription fee of 99¢ per month. So far the articles have been pretty great. I purchased their debut story, “Do No Harm“, which explores the neuropsychology of perfectly healthy people who want to amputate their limbs. It was an excellent piece of science journalism, the kind that should cost money, so it makes sense that Williams and Stone wanted to pull Matter’s good stories into their pristine publishing ecosystem—”the best place on the Internet to read and create high-quality content,” Williams told the Matter co-founders, according to their blog post.

Medium’s invite-only, organized “collections” of content range from personal accounts of brushes with death in “This Happened to Me ” to entrepreneurial success (by Williams himself) in the “On Startups” collection. It’s a blog for all blogs, for any type of content you wish to create, as long as it’s good. At a conference in March, Williams said about Medium: “It’s not like a tweet, it’s not as easy, and we don’t expect the ratio of creators to consumers to be the same for Twitter and Instagram, for example. The point, instead, is not to lower the barrier to get everyone creating, but to get the maximum audience for the really good stuff.”

The problem with Medium’s goal to provide  ”high-quality content” is that what constitutes high quality is consistently being determined by a relatively small, fairly homogeneous, intertwined Web. Last August, I helped research the demographics of some early adopters of…[Read Full Article Here]

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