There's an old saying that opposites attract, and it has never been more true than today. The collaborative writing site Medium has just announced that they are acquiring the subcompact publisher Matter.
These months-old startups have very different views on how to publish content, so much so that this deal is unusual to say the least. But the two companies see that they have a common ground:
One of the things that made it easy to join Medium was the knowledge that the company believes in great storytelling as much as we do, and is prepared to support what we do.
The Matter founders go on to add that they aren't planning any drastic changes to their subscription or publishing model, but over the next few months they do plan to better integrate some Medium features:
We’ve already started using Medium to expand on the ideas we cover — see, for example, Amputees & Wannabes, the recent series of commentaries around our launch story, Do No Harm. We’ll also be introducing some exciting changes at the MATTER website; changes that will make the site better for readers, and improve our mechanism for supporting long-form writing.
Matter was funded in a Kickstarter campaign in February 2012. As I explained back in December, it's a digital magazine that takes subcompact publishing to an extreme; they publish one article each month. Medium, on the other hand, was launched later in 2012 with the goal of for readers to contribute to a blog post that involves greater participation than simply leaving a comment.
This could be a interesting publishing model, don't you think? Once this deal is finalized, Matter will be encouraging readers to contribute content as money, and that could result in a radically new definition for publisher.
From my vantage point this looks Matter could become more like a club or debating society with paid membership than a magazine. Now that would be an interesting situation, don't you think?