Ev Williams, co-founder of Twitter and Medium.

Is the Internet broken?

The co-founder of Medium and Twitter on the path forward.

“I think the internet is broken,” Ev Williams, co-founder and CEO of Medium, and co-founder of Twitter, said in an interview published today by The New York Times. “And it’s a lot more obvious to a lot of people that it’s broken.”

He added: “I thought once everybody could speak freely and exchange information and ideas, the world is automatically going to be a better place.”

I was wrong about that.

The main issue is that the Internet “rewards extremes,” a pattern that he wants to break, partly also with the new approach Medium is taking. One of the priorities are what he calls “the architecture of content creation, distribution and monetization on the Internet” and the repercussions on how that affects the future of news.

Medium’s popularity has been growing, but not without aches and pains.

In January, Ev announced a new approach at Medium and a reorganization of the company, which included laying off staff and closing their offices in new York and Washington DC. Shortly after, in March, the platform launched its member-only content and a subscription plan.

“Free and open is the cake,” Ev wrote in his post. “Many people just want to share their ideas and knowledge and don’t have the expectation of monetary reward. This is a beautiful thing — and one of the key traits of Medium. It has worked to great effect for millions of people and is not changing. It will remain free to publish and free to read unlimited posts from those who publish freely.”

David Streitfeld of the New York Times highlights how, “as news becomes more visually oriented, the site [Medium] stays focused on words. And it continues to strive for the broadest possible reach, welcoming all sorts of untested writers, though that may be changing.”

Personally, I love Medium and I support the way Ev is experimenting with it in order to make it an even greater product than what it already is.

And while the Trump White House hasn’t been active on Medium, the political and foreign policy communities are quite fond of the platform and are contributing to its popularity as a great forum to discuss ideas and challenge ideas.

President Donald Trump, unlike his predecessor and the The Obama White House, is concentrating his efforts on Twitter, perhaps contributing to the new momentum and increased attention around the social media platform and how Trump, his team, and politicos are prioritizing on it.

“I believe it’s very important to hear directly from our leadership,” Jack Dorsey said about Trump in an interview with NBC’s Willie Geist.

I believe it’s important to hold them accountable. It’s important to have those conversations out in the open rather than have them behind closed doors.

Dorsey added: “If we’d suddenly take these platforms away, where does it go? What happens? It goes in the dark and I don’t think it’s good for anyone. I would rather us all be aware of how people are thinking about things, even if we disagree.”

Ev Williams goes even further and, on Trump, he told The New York Times: “It’s a very bad thing, Twitter’s role in that.”

If it’s true that he wouldn’t be president if it weren’t for Twitter, then yeah, I’m sorry.

Is Ev’s view of the Internet utopian?

“The problem is that not everyone is going to be cool, because humans are humans,” he said in the interview. “There’s a lock on our office door and our homes at night. The Internet was started without the expectation that we’d have to do that online.”

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