Although both of these new applications are still in their testing phases, so you can't exactly try them out for yourself right away, both look like very promising transformations for the way we build content and communicate online.
"We're rethinking publishing and building a new platform from scratch."
Coming from the same guys who revolutionized the web with Twitter, Medium might just give us a brand new conception of how we build and share content online. Like a mix between Twitter and blogging, members can customize a page that for right now, only takes you to an instructions page after signing in. From what I can tell, it lets people communicate according to topic, where members can submit posts to different topics, just like we aggregate our microblogging with hashtags.
You can reach an "About" page after signing in with Twitter, which gives you a pretty clear view of what Medium is and what it's trying to accomplish. "While it's great that you can be a one-person media company, it'd be even better if there were more ways you could work with others. And in many ways, the web is still mimicking print concepts, while not even catching up to it in terms of layout, design, and clarity of experience," wrote Evan Williams.
How does it work exactly? Williams continues, "Posting on Medium (not yet open to everyone) is elegant and easy, and you can do so without the burden of becoming a blogger or worrying about developing an audience. All posts are organized into “collections,” which are defined by a theme and a template."
Right now it's unclear whether people will be able to create their own "closed" collections that will function more like a blog, or if it's just for the aggregation of thoughts from many around different topics that we may be able to start up ourselves. Whichever it is, it's essentially communal blogging based on popular topics. Check out the examples below to see which topics have already gotten started.
A collection of posts where people tell stories about crazy things that've happened to them.
A collection of nostalgic photos with phrases attached.
"PersonSpot enables social publishing."
Although the thought of being able to publish your very own online magazine sounds phenomenal, by the looks of the beta-test examples that are already live, it looks more like a glorified form of blogging.
Their "About" page begs to differ though, reading: "By publishing PersonSpot magazines, people can define and manage their own online persona and promote themselves to colleagues, clients, peers, or friends. In today’s knowledge-based world, we are what we read, or write about. With no time to blog, and too much noise in our social feeds, PersonSpot lets us break through the clutter and promote ourselves better."
Right now you're only able to signup with PersonSpot by requesting an invite, but it's not even clear if the application allows you to create your own content. The example sites that are currently live merely consist of a curated collection of links with brief introductions and photos, perhaps picked out by the "magazine-owner," but otherwise completely independent. Clicking on posts takes you to the originally sourced article on it's separate site.
It seems like "online magazine" might be a bit of a stretch, instead more of a personalized post-dump that you can curate by sections, where you're able to keep and share all the news and articles you find interesting.
For more on PersonSpot, read this article on Sys-Con Media.