Getting Started in Medium: Reading, annotating, commenting, and recommending

Getting Started in Medium: Reading, annotating, commenting, and recommending

Once you’ve made a choice to write online…you’ve got a ton of options for where you’d like to write. In this decision, you should consider the look and feel of the writing space or platform. You should also consider social and commentary connections in the platform. Finally, you should think about who owns your content as you share it out online. We’ll talk more about that third point in later posts.

One platform that I’ve increasingly been interested in is Medium. Medium is a writing platform that strips away a lot of the crud that you find in other spaces. The platform also includes connections to a writing community that forms a social network based on writing and ideas. Finally, the tools baked in to Medium make it easy to write, annotate, and comment on the work of others. For this first post in a series, we’ll look at reading, annotating, commenting, and recommending in Medium.

How to get a Medium account

It’ll be much easier to show you what makes Medium different if you get signed in…and we get started. Open a new tab and go to In the top right corner, click the button that says “Sign in/Sign up.”MediumOnce you click on that, you can sign in to the service using Facebook, Twitter, or Google. You can also sign up using your email.Medium 2If you use Facebook, Twitter, or Google to sign in, you’ll be brought to an authorization page with that service. You’ll need to sign in to Facebook, Twitter, or Google and then agree to the “Terms of Service.” Click continue and return to Medium. You’ll receive an email from Medium asking you to verify your email address. After you have started a Medium account, log in to your account and come back to this blog post on Medium.

Using Medium as a reader

While reading in Medium, you have access to powerful tools to read, annotate, comment, and communicate with others. Get started by finding and following others. Test this out by following me on Medium. Up at the top of this post, you’ll see my avatar, and with my name to the right. If you hover your cursor over my image, it’ll have a pop-up that shows my stats…and a green follow button. Click that button to follow me. Go ahead…test it out and I’ll wait. 🙂Screen_Shot_2015-10-21_at_2_27_31_PMAnnotation – Another powerful feature of Medium is the ability to comment, and leave notes in the margins of documents. The comments are left in the exact place where you’d want people to see them as they read. In this graphic below, you can see a note left by Adam Procter on a post by Doug Belshaw. You can see their dialogue, interact, and (you should) follow them and their works.Money_can’t_buy_you_love_—_Solidarity_for_Slackers_—_MediumTo leave a comment on a post, click and drag your cursor on the screen to select a piece of text. You’ll have a little black toolbar that pops up over the text you want to annotate. The first icon will highlight the text you’ve selected…and let people know that you highlighted it. The second icon will allow you to comment on the text. This will open up a place to the right to leave your comment. The third icon will let you tweet out that selected text to the world. The fourth icon will allow you to send a private note to the author. Please take a look at the image below from this piece by Laura Hilliger to see the toolbar in action. I’d follow Laura while you’re there. 🙂Screen_Shot_2015-10-21_at_2_40_02_PM

Finally…as you read through the post, you’ll notice a white toolbar on the bottom of the page. You can click the heart icon to recommend the piece on Medium. You can also click the icon that looks like a chat bubble to leave a comment immediately on the entire doc.

Let’s go ahead and test these features out. While you’re signed in…feel free to highlight text on this page. Leave me a comment. Respond to comments left behind by others. Tweet it out if you’re feeling the need. Finally, shoot me a private note if you’ve noticed some of the grammatical and spelling errors I’ve left behind. 🙂

Explore Medium to find others

As you explore and get started on Medium, check out some of the others that are also playing on this page. Take a look at their profiles and follow them. Respond to their comments and engage in dialogue.

In our next post, we’ll take a look at starting to write, publish, and collaborate using Medium. Until then…have fun playing in here. Click on the “M” at the top left of this page to go to the home page for Medium. There you’ll see all sorts of people writing about all sorts of things. Find some other pieces and people to follow and connect with.


Cover photo by michael pollak shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

8 Comments Getting Started in Medium: Reading, annotating, commenting, and recommending

  1. Aaron Davis

    Digital Creating and Making at #DigiCon15 term blog derives from ‘web log’ and was initially coined to describe “discrete entries (posts) typically displayed in reverse chronological order.” This though has changed over time. Now it incorporates a range of different methods for creating and communicating. Sometimes it is organised inside a bigger system, but more often than not it is standalone.  There are many different platforms out there, each having their benefits and negatives. What does not change is the focus presenting mixed media, including video, text, images and audio.
    It seems that when it comes to blogging there are as many reasons not to blog. These include not enough time, fear of the public audience and feeling that you have nothing to write. What stands out the most to me though is actually knowing where to start. Sometimes this start is about finding a why, but more often than not it is about where and how.
    Unsure which platform to use, how to setup a blog or whether you can maintain regular blogging, a good place to start is Medium. Founded by Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone, the intention was to encourage Twitter uses to create longer posts. In a reflection on why he loves Medium, Marcin Wichary highlights a range of benefits, such as the simplicity of use, looks great on any device and makes it easy to collaborate. While in a separate post Mathias Elmore suggests that when it comes to writing, Medium has some real benefits, including the ability to write, read, annotate and engage all in the one place.
    I am not sure if I think doing everything in one place is the ideal solution, nor do I feel that Medium is the best platform. Here I am with Audrey Watters’ call for a domain of one’s own. However, Medium does provide a good starting place.
    Some possible uses for blogging are:
    Being a connected educator
    Critically engaging with information and ideas
    Showing your work and learning
    Leading by example
    Here are some additional resources associated with Medium (and blogging in general):
    Ten Reasons Why I Love Medium – a post from Marcin Wichary unpacking the different features of Medium
    Medium as an educational tool — the feedback era – a post from Mathias Elmose discussing the benefits in regards to writing and feedback
    Getting Started in Medium: Writing and Reading – two posts from Ian O’Byrne explaining how to get going with Medium.
    Syndicating to Medium – a post from Jeremy Keith outlining how to syndicate your posts to Medium in order to gain the benefits of posting in your own space, as well as the reach offered by a space like Medium.
    Why I Blog (And How You Can Too) – A guide from Sue Waters to everything associated with blogging
    Seven Reasons Teachers Should Blog – An exploration from Steve Wheeler into some of the reasons as to why to blog
    Why I Blog – A reflection from Corrie Barclay on the range of reasons why to blog
    An Introduction to Blogging with Global2 – A post I wrote exploring the potential of Global2 and Edublog for education
    Successful Blog Posts – A post from Doug Pete looking at the mechanics of a blog post
    Anywhere but Medium – Dave Winer makes the plea for readers to post anywhere but Medium, rather than let it become consensus platform. Instead, we need to make a stand for the open web and at least post elsewhere first.
    Tips and tricks for Medium writers – The editor at Medium provide an extensive guide for using the editor when publishing in Medium.

    If you enjoy what you read here, feel free to sign up for my monthly newsletter to catch up on all things learning, edtech and storytelling.Share this:PrintEmailRedditTwitterFacebookGooglePinterestPocketTumblrLinkedInLike this:Like Loading…


    Blogging with Medium by Aaron Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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