So I’ve been watching Branch with a fair bit of interest as of late (and not just because I’m working on a product in a similar space)
I do believe I understand the problem. That despite how much effort and development goes into social media, discussions still remain fragmented, noisy and generally of poor quality. From the early days of Slashdot to Redit and HN, From Facebook to Twitter and Google+.
So how exactly does Branch solve this, or at least improve it? Well, to be honest, I’m still not sure. They definitely have made a couple of small innovations. Like being able to bring discussions out of social media networks like Twitter (where the conversation experience is still just awful) and also blogs, news articles, pretty much any content source on the internet. It’s a little bit like Reddit/HN/Slashdot but not. The ability to “branch” is also interesting, I guess the idea is to keep off-topic but related discussions from polluting the original thread.
Still, I still think there are important features missing. Specifically, the ability to organize social network connections and the resulting discussions by areas of interest. For example, on Twitter I generally follow a lot of software industry folks. Mostly I’m just interested in their thoughts on the industry and not about their cat, dog, kids, food or vacation pictures. Only for the few of those I know personally is my interest in their lives is somewhat expanded.
Google+ believes it has improved on this with it’s “circles”, except the experience is totally backwards. It is now up to me to sort all these people into circles so I can publish the content that I believe is relevant to them. This is a completely ridiculous ask for someone who has potentially thousands of interested followers, many of whom are not following them to hear about the misadventures of Snuggles the cat.
But I digress, instead of continuing to write about this, I want to invite all of you to discus this on Branch. So to that end, I’ve disabled my default Disqus comments and embedded a Branch. This is also bit of an experiment to see if Branch is at a minimum just a better blog discussion engine than say Disqus (and I do quite like Disqus).
So, let’s go… what do you think about Branch?