Medium.com as a contender in the participatory web
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This Master’s report represents the culmination of a self-study that lasted from January to May 2014, wherein I set out to evaluate the standing of Medium.com—an online communal blogging platform—as a contender in the participatory web. I conducted the original self-study with a fixed scope and a certain set of goals in mind. Based on feedback from my instructor and peers, however, I have endeavored to build upon my prior research by further analyzing my personal experience with Medium’s participatory aspects, taking my previous conclusions in a new direction, and using the benefit of a year’s hindsight—between the present day and the time when I finished the first version of this paper—to see how far Medium has come. This Master’s report, therefore, will be split into two parts. The first, entitled “The Original Self-Study on Participatory Web Activities,” will feature a complete and unaltered report of the original research I carried out last year. The second, “Another Look,” features a) a review of the updates Medium has implemented over the past year, which have allowed for greater discoverability for Medium’s published content and richer modes of interaction between its users; b) a snapshot of Medium’s userbase and incoming traffic as illustrated by data analytics; c) a revisiting of Medium’s participatory aspects and list of best practices for engaging with the service; d) a review of Medium’s competition; e) an updated conclusion that synthesizes the foregoing items. From these assessments, I have concluded that Medium is continuing to take steps to become the ideal communal publishing platform where anyone can publish and be discovered, and that the site is consolidating its status as a major player in today’s participatory web.