You create a tremendous amount of value for the social networks you contribute to, especially in their early days.

Good point. But the problem still persists, what does the network does for you?

If I believe I have a bright idea or a story to tell, to whom shall I go? In the academic world, I can go and tell it on a journal but there are gatekeepers who will not let me an easy entry along with their watchdogs, the peer reviewers who are more interested in the saleability of the idea rather than its intrinsic merit. To some extent this is true of market established media. I can write about it in a newspaper, but it is highly unlikely they will publish it.

That was in the old days. Emergence of social media changed the old style. Now you can write about your ideas, and why, you can even expect people to pick up on that as well. But now, the question is more nuanced. Where shall I publish?

I can publish in Facebook but Facebook is too trivial. I shall no doubt get some likes and trite feedbacks, but that would be about it. I can tweet about it or blog about it. Great controls on what and how I want to say, but again, vacuous. Who reads them? Who interacts with me? Then came along Google plus, an interest network par excellence, but once more, beyond the opportunity to interact and learn from, there was no systematic way I could expect that my idea would percolate, drift along, find a taker and grow. I could use a discussion group and news group, but that would be too constrained, somewhat like Facebook.

Along comes Medium. Better than blogs in terms of formed audience to penetrate, allows you longer posts, excellent comment infrastructure, but sadly, no real network. Quora and Stackexchange and reddit are great but again too focussed. Medium is great, but none of these have any sense of defined community.

In other words, after all these years, we are none the wiser. If you have an idea that you’d like to share and need people to comment and respond to you, go find your own community. There is no systematic process where you can be found out.

It’s like a cat chasing its tails. At the end of the day, it’s not about what value you bring to the community, it’s about whether the community is listening to you. Reading about Reveal, this new advertised community, these questions arise – how are they addressing the problem of noise versus being found out. So far no one seemed to crack it.

If you want proof, look no further than the statistic of this post. No one will ever read or respond to it, and eventually it will bury itself under the pile of posts that have come before it and the ones yet to come. Can reveal change this status quo? Let’s see.

Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Environmental Health at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Also in:

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store