On Medium, Facebook, And The Graph Conflict

On Medium, Facebook, And The Graph Conflict

Now, I have no categorical beef with Facebook, I understand the value of its network as much as the next publisher. But it always struck me that Medium was forging a third way  its not a blogging platform, quite, at least as we used to understand them. And its not a social network, though it has a social feel. Its something  of itself, and thats a good thing.

So when I saw that prompt, my shoulders sagged a bit. And I may have let a bit more air than usual out of my nose. Then I hit the little X in the right hand corner of the prompt, and prepared to write. (No, really! Think about what the Internet of Things will do to hotel anthropology! The data! The renegotiation of a sacred social compact!)

But then something tugged at me. Wait, I thought. Did Medium really just ask me to connect my identity in Medium, to  Facebook?

No, I countered. More likely they are just testing it out, seeing the uptake, learning. Id certainly do the same.

I decided to test my theory by logging on with another identity, that of NewCo, which is experimenting with the platform as a publisher. (Aside: I predicted this will be a breakout year for Medium, and Im a unabashed fan of this place). Surely if this was a test, I wouldnt see the same prompt as I had previously, when I logged on as John Battelle.

But alas, and indeed, the same Facebook prompt appeared under my NewCo identity. Unless I got extremely lucky (in terms of odds, anyway), this doesnt appear to be a test.

When I first logged on to Medium (and most likely, when you first logged on as well), it asked me to connect to Twitter. Thats how I got my first 18K or so followers on Medium  they were all the people both on Twitter and on Medium  and I accepted that deal. Medium also auto-followed anyone on Medium that I also followed on Twitter. OK, cool. Gas, meet carburetor.

Now as has been discussed to the point of amnesia, Twitter employs a public follow model, and at its core is driven by a publicly declared interest graph.

Facebook, on the other hand, is driven by the perception of a private friend graph. I say perception because I think the newsfeed (and therefore the lions share of the Facebook experience) has morphed (evolved? mutated?) into something else entirely  its very clearly now a cross breed of true friends and family with  well, whatever the Like button has come to mean, as well as the new follower model the company has created for public figures and brands. Oh, plus about a hundred (a thousand? we dont know) other things that are part of a rather murky (but still, well intentioned!) secret sauce.

But I digress. The point is, someone is trying to put their fish sticks in my chocolate, and Im not sure I like it. I wonder if the sign up process now has an option to create your Medium account purely by connecting to Facebook? Hang on a minute..(creates icognito tabfires up medium.comoh waithuh) its been two years, you can choose Twitter, Facebook, or Google.

Jeez. Which means that there are neighborhoods here in Medium  those who logged in with Twitter, and those who logged in with Facebook (I bet the Google option is a still a pretty small zip code  but interesting!).

Is there a Facebook Medium? Who out there is reading and connected via Facebook? Whats the experience like? Anyone connected BOTH Facebook and Twitter? Orall three?!

Please, do enlighten me. We must co-create an ethnography of the place!

And wait! If you want more folks to join this conversation, please RT this. Or Like It On Facebook. You know, hit the, um, Social Action Button. Yes, Ive never asked that here before. But  I did in my cross post on Medium so.

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