Svbtle vs. Medium

Founder Dustin Curtis announced today that sign ups to Svbtle are now open to everyone:

Svbtle is designed to highlight the things that matter; it’s an extremely simple platform for collecting and developing ideas, sharing them with the world, and reading them. That’s it. We’ve focused all of our energy into designing the simplest interface possible for accomplishing these goals. Svbtle is blogging with everything else stripped away.

On Pixel Envy, one of my favorite weblogs, Nick Heer wonders:

Svbtle and Medium are extraordinarily similar, and I’m not sure I understand either of them. Are they user-generated publications? Are they like (as opposed to the .org package) but with a cooler interface?

Svbtle and Medium are actually two different animals. We tend to put them under the same label only because the latter does a pretty good job — by choice or coincidence — at hiding what it really is.

Medium, as I wrote a month ago, is a magazine:

To the common reader, this content doesn’t exist (and nor do you). The highly-trafficked masterpieces that are featured on Medium — while they do have a tiny picture of you and a Twitteresque byline — sit on one domain, and carry a cohesive layout and feel. Those of Medium.

Svbtle1 is an online publishing platform: Like and Blogger2 and unlike Medium, it’s decentralized, giving writers the option to have their own domain and logo, and though style customizations are limited to colors and avatars, Curtis explains in today’s announcement that more options are to be presented soon.

Does that mean one is good and the other’s bad? Not necessarily. But having your own spot on the web is different than contributing your content to an online magazine in exchange for exposure.

  1. Which I haven’t used and therefore have no opinion of. ↩︎
  2. Medium and Blogger were both founded by Evan Williams, known as one of Twitter’s founding-quartet. Maybe this is another source for the confusion of Medium as a service. ↩︎
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