It’s hard to say what I hate worse: the disjointed nature of trying to have a conversation on Twitter, or blog comments. Actually, no it’s not. It’s clearly blog comments. They are quite possibly the worst and most useless thing on the internet. But both of the aforementioned things are the reasons I love Branch.
I first wrote about Branch almost a year ago, when they were just getting started. CrunchFund subsequently got involved in an advisory role to the company because they were trying to do the impossible: create a civil, smart place on the internet for discourse. Today, they’re officially launching out of private beta and into the public.
What interests me most about Branch is that it has the possibility to be the continuation of the evolution of online communication. Blogging -> Tweeting -> Branching (? — too soon). It has elements of both blogging (putting down words online) and tweeting (speed and character limits) while opening up new paths of discussion thanks to context and curation.
Here’s an example Branch from today with Evan Williams, Sarah Lacy, Steven Levy, Eric Eldon, Claire Cain Miller, and Branch co-founder Josh Miller participating.
As you may know, I hate blog comments. But people mistakenly think that means I hate discussion about my content. That’s not true at all. To the contrary, I love it. I just believe the existing commenting norms (and really the concept itself) are completely broken. I’m happy when people talk about my content on their own blogs. Or on Twitter. But again, context often doesn’t travel well this way. Branch can hopefully change that. (While maintaining brevity and civility.)
Blog posts or tweets can be launching boards for branches. And much like Quora, I expect Branch to be a platform that spurs new blog posts and tweets as process journalism and discussions reveal gems from the best minds in industries. It will be a symbiotic relationship.
CrunchFund hasn’t invested in Branch, but we’ll be advising them.