Today the brains over at The Obvious Corporation have announced its newest venture, Branch. For the record, The Obvious Corporation is made up of Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams as well as early Twitter staffer Jason Goldman. Their incubator was started nearly a year ago when all three decided to back off from time at Twitter and focus on new ideas and projects. One of those new projects will be Branch (formerly known as Roundtable).
Essentially, Branch will be a discussion-based social network. Stone elaborates:
“[It] enables a smart new brand of high quality public discourse. Curated groups of people are invited to engage around issues in which they are knowledge[able]. This service holds the promise of a new platform for dialogue on the web – a necessary departure from the monologues we have grown so accustomed to reading online.”
So while Branch might share some basics with Twitter, it’s essentially a more grown-up, academic approach to the Internet-based conversation. And the site is likely going to capitalize on the unstoppable evolution of the blog. This space has seen so much disruption recently that it seems like any new approach could swoop in and dominate. Just look at Pinterest and Instagram – or smaller sites like Flavors.me or Posterous. They’ve all been a part of making us reconsider what a blog is and what it should be.
“Today, Brand is nothing but an ideal, and there are many long nights and laborious learnings to be had before we are able to stand behind something truly meaningful,” co-founder Josh Miller wrote today.
Just look at the currently hyped “blogging” platforms: all visuals, little text, and not a lot of substance to be found. Instead of feeding our instant-updating, streaming conversations, it’s going to attempt to get us to focus. Branch will have to leverage the constant cries of Twitter’s relevance problem and shallow content – as long as it has a viable solution. It’s a great idea, but our attention spans simply aren’t what they used to be.