Wednesday, 22 August 2012

So what exactly is Branch? And what's Medium?

One thing I hate about social media is that although yes, we are receiving more content, launching more products and reporting on new developments faster than ever before, the focus seems to very much be on looking forward to the next big thing, rather than actually looking at our the stuff that’s ready now and deciding whether it’s any good or not

Sometimes we all want a bit more meat on the bones. I don’t want to just sit there are and read about what’s coming up; I want to know what’s around now, what’s just launched and how I can use it.

Blogger was a step forward when it launched. Then Twitter came along and MADE CONVERSATION RELEVANT AGAIN (sorry, had to over-exaggerate). Now the guys behind both of these platforms (Ev Williams and Biz stone) have launched two new sites, Medium and Branch.

I’ve been having a play - here’s what I think of them so far.

Branch is…

Branch from Branch on Vimeo.

Branch is a site that uses the desire for instant, relevant conversations that spring up on Twitter, and found a way to encourage longer conversations around a single topic.

Twitter is a fantastic communication tool, but it’s not really a social platform on which you can debate easily with more than a few people due to character restraints.

Why should you care? It’s simple – you can take a conversation from Twitter and expand on it - turn it into a debate, argue, agree, whatever.

Want to go off on a tangent? No problem – you can ‘branch out’ from the original conversation and debate further with others on a topic. So there could be plenty of riffing on subjects such as Batman, Social Media and general tech news on there. News moves fast

Medium is…

What is Medium? At it’s core it’s a site that allows you to curate and create content without the hassle of having to own a blog, or sign up to Tumblr. It’s aim is to ‘Rethink publishing from scratch’.

You can share stories, pictures and other content without the burden of having to be a ‘publisher’. I can understand that, and I can see how that would be appealing to people. I know more than a few people who have cringed at the thought of having to set up a blog. With Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr being around these days, it’s barely worth investing the time if you want to reach people (unless you have a subject you care passionately about - I think blogs are great for single-issues that you care about). Personal blogging however is very difficult to sustain, and having a site like this that basically says ‘share what you like, read what interests you, no pressure to feel like you have to constantly contribute to score points’ (hello, Quora). Some people don’t want to be active sharers - they just want to share, look at and like cool stuff - stories photos etc.

Will Branch and Medium survive? It’s too early to tell, as they’re both very much in beta. But I can tell you one thing - I think they both scratch a necessary itch online, and that’s a good thing.

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