Evan Williams on Medium: “The magazine is the analog for what we’re doing”

When Twitter cofounders Evan Williams and Biz Stone launched Medium last year, their goal was for it to be a collaborative publishing tool that connected writers to a larger network. But that vision also hinges on quality, curation and, in some ways, a higher barrier to entry than platforms like Twitter.

“We’re going to be a great place for professional writers to write,” Williams told Wired senior writer Steven Levy at the Wired Business Conference in New York on Tuesday. “The magazine is the analog for what we’re doing.”

Williams noted that he doesn’t think professional writers will be the majority of Medium’s users — “we’re going to be a great place for everyone” — and that he wants to be “careful” about using the word “quality,” since “Medium is actually easier than blogging if you want to write something short.” Nonetheless, Medium is still not open to everybody. The site has five editors who are working to “get great content on the system and help curate what’s there,” and Medium is paying some writers.

Medium recently acquired the Kickstarter-backed journalism startup Matter (cofounded by former GigaOM writer Bobbie Johnson), which publishes long-form science and technology stories, and Williams said that Matter will be a home to other long-form stories as well. “We’re not focused on news,” he said. “We’re focused on ideas and stories that have a longer shelf life, [whether it’s] short opinion pieces or long-form investigative journalism. We want that to thrive.”