As you may, or may not have picked up on in the last week, big news has been announced by one of our favourite social networks. In short, there are two sister sites coming our way, and whilst the idea of even more bookmarks to clog up your web browser may not appeal, the new additions are worth knowing about, albeit both are still invite only.
They come from Ev Williams and Biz Stone, the chaps behind Twitter and Blogger. Their most substantial achievements, the latter may not be the finest blog platform out there (with both WordPress and Tumblr offering far more options), but nevertheless it was one of the key catalysts in the self-publishing boom.
Every Tom, Dick and Harry being able to make their thoughts available for us all to read is, of course, a fast way to annoy people. Especially when grammar and spelling seem to be unimportant to many. But then look at Russian band Pussy Riot, Turkish pianist Fazil Say, and last year’s Arab Spring. Now try arguing that facilitating freedom of speech isn’t something to be proud of.
We shouldn’t need to highlight the popularity of Twitter, given it remains a go to network for personal and PR users. This market dominance, which sees the site play second fiddle only to Facebook, looks set to last even longer if the new developments deliver on their promises. And, given the guys responsible have such strong CVs, we don’t doubt there’s every chance the impact will be felt.
Introducing Medium, a social network that looks a little like Pinterest, only behaves rather differently. Based on so-called ‘collections’, the idea is that people contribute content- from images and video to articles- on a particular theme; for instance ‘the best public relations agency in Manchester’. These are then compiled into a grid like page, with the most popular results, as voted for users, appearing at the top, descending in order of preference.
Then we also have Branch, the second of the pair, which is a polished looking platform that should be of great interest to anyone involved in marketing. Apparently this is “an attempt to combine the intimacy of a dinner conversation with the power of the internet”. That sounds a bit vague, so we’ll explain a little more.
Twitter users can invite others to join them in a real-time discussion on a specific subject, which is then made available to all Twitter users via a custom feed. Imagine a group of footballers discussing the start to the new season, or leading doctors assessing the pros and cons of new research, and you’re on the right lines.
One thing’s for sure, this is about transparency and encouraging open dialogue, which is always a positive from our perspective, meanwhile the major offering on both is to take people away from the noisy, hectic, and almost incoherent mass of status updates, which has certainly been a long time coming. Plenty of potential then.