Twitter co-founders: Information is not knowledge

Steven Loeb · September 12, 2012 · Short URL:

Publishing platform Medium will give people high quality content, not just the newest stuff

The point of Medium, the new media startup launched by Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams in August, is to give out the best information. 

Quoting Einstein, who said, “Information is not knowledge,” Stone said that more information doesn’t make us smarter. In other words, Medium is about quality, not quantity.  

Stone and Williams were speaking at the TC Disrupt conference in San Francisco Wednesday, where they discussed their new publishing platform called Medium. 

“Medium is essentially a publishing platform, and it's along the lines of stuff we worked on before,” Williams said, referencing Stone’s work at Xanga, and his experience at Blogger.

“We’ve kind of been obsessed with publishing and media and the whole idea of the democratization of information, which is really one of the biggest promises of the internet. We’ve been working on that for a long time and we’re excited to do another project in that area because there’s still more stuff to do.”

The point of Medium, Williams and Stone said, is to give people worthwhile content that is high quality. While the platform is currently in beta stage, which means that most people can currently read content but can’t publish, Williams insisted that, while there will be an emphasis on high quality posts, that will not come from an editorial standpoint. Everyone will eventually be able to publish on Medium.

So how will it be decided what is high quality and what is not?

Williams and Stone were a little vague on the subject, and it seems like they have not entirely figured that out yet.

“In terms of how we figure out quality, that will be a long standing project. I look it similar to ‘how does Google figure out quality?’ Its algorithmic, and it's based on people’s behavior out in the world. And lots of data,” Williams saud

Medium organizes pots by ranking instead of chronologically, simply because there is too much to pay attention to.

The Web is focused on what is new, Williams said, but “You’re never going to catch up on what you missed anymore. That’s gone. So I think we need to reorient our tools to recognize the fact that you’re not going to see everything that’s even potentially interesting or useful to you.”

Medium wants to present the best of every category, and that will come from what people say or thing is good. 

Williams called it “primitive,” but said it will evolve.

And this is where Medium and Twitter differ. Twitter was about getting things out in real time, and that is what gave it value. 

“So now that everyone’s connected and everyone has a voice and it’s all coming at us, and its infinite, how do we work to make, to transmute, infinite information into knowledge and understanding. And from knowledge and understanding, how do we make that jump to real world action, and actually getting things done?" said Stone.

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