Medium app’s new serialized stories borrow from Snapchat, Instagram

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Medium is adding a major new update to its mobile apps for iOS and Android in the form of serialized posts.

The new “Series” feature lets users create mobile stories using text, images, photos, and GIFs, with video coming soon. Readers can swipe through the posts card by card in the vein of a Snapchat story — a social sharing function that has also been copied by Instagram and its parent company, Facebook. But Series differs from the stories you’d find on those platforms, mainly because a serialized story on Medium ditches temporality. In that sense, it also resembles the Moments tool currently available on Twitter (of which Medium chief Evan Williams is a co-founder).

Instead, the blogging platform is hoping the immersive nature of the function (full-screen, vertical visuals, tilt-to-view movement controls) will revolutionize the way users engage with its app. Its arrival comes during a time of flux for the company, as it moves away from its ad-driven past toward a (possible) subscription-based model.

Whereas Series presents stories in the chronological mobile storytelling format popularized by Snapchat, it also offers an altogether different concept, summed up in its promo video: A story that doesn’t have to end. In fact, the app’s emoji-like interaction option for readers — a clap icon that appears at the end of a series, and tallies responses — is aimed at encouraging creators to update posts that receive positive feedback.

Therefore, in its bid to alter the way people use its app, Series presents a way to get readers coming back for more. This is reflected in the functionality of the format, which lets you set push notifications that alert you every time a new installment is added to a Series, and saves your place in the post when you stop reading.

“Series are built for phones, using the constraints of the mobile screen to design a more powerful and dynamic storytelling format,” a Medium spokesperson told Digital Trends via email.

A number of public figures and popular Medium contributors have already uploaded Series posts, including philanthropist Melinda Gates, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and writer and cartoonist Jeff Lewonczyk.

At present only iOS users can create serialized posts via the Medium app, although the feature is available to all logged-in users on the web. Both iOS and Android users can access Series posts by downloading or updating to the most recent version of the Medium app. Here, you’ll find a new Series tab that includes stories from people you follow and featured posts picked by the platform’s editorial team.

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