Medium recently changed their mobile reading experience. It’s still in beta, and you have to toggle a preference in settings to turn it on, so you won’t see it by default. They have been signaling its coming for a few months, though. The tag line they’ve been using is that it makes Medium “more relational.”
So what’s different? As Russ wrote, instead of starting with an algorithmic feed of stories, the new app is “reoriented around following — so that readers can be sure they’re not missing anything from writers they love, and those writers and publications can more actively engage and grow their audience.”
First and foremost, the focus is on the stories from people or publications you follow. In other words, it’s a bit like RSS. The visual indicators of new posts from sources to which you subscribe feels very much like browsing through a feed reader.
I like the new way of offering content, but it does feel like an homage to RSS, without actually acknowledging how great that technology is and how it gives the readers control over what they see.1 It’s good to see Medium going in this direction, as I believe it’s far better than shoving recommendations made by an algorithm into someone’s feed. It allows the user a level of self-determination not seen in previous versions of the service.