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What is Branch and what could it mean for PR?

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 28th August 2012

When two of the founders of Twitter launch a new product, it’s worth sitting up and taking note.

So Branch – Ev Williams and Biz Stone’s latest venture (they are still directors at Twitter but aren’t involved on a daily basis) – is worth looking at. It launched earlier this month alongside another new product called Medium – a content publishing platform that looks a bit like Tumblr.

It’s Branch that has garnered most interest to date, mainly because it isn’t in the same closed beta as Medium at the moment.

That and the fact that it’s proposition is quite interesting…

Give me more characters, please

Ever found yourself frustrated by Twitter’s 140 character limit? If so then you might be surprised to find that, somewhat ironically, Ev and Biz seem to agree.

In it’s simplest form, Branch is a place for Twitter users to have more in-depth conversations with each other. You login with your Twitter credentials and integrations with the micro-blogging platform are linked across the site. But you have 750 characters to play with and conversations are arranged inline so you can see the full thread.

It feels a little bit like the comment stream on a blog and you can kick things off with a link to an article or a tweet (or even link to another comment from another branch).

Curation is key

You can invite the people you want to take part in your conversation and can add others. This allows you to keep it tight and curated if necessary. So you can see tech heavyweights debating issues that matter to them. You can also ‘apply’ to join a branch and give a short pitch for why you should be included.

So will it succeed?

I think there’s lots of merit in Branch. It certainly fulfils a need and I like the fact that it’s tightly integrated with Twitter. It looks great and has a strong, simple UI. Branch (and Medium looks the same) is also clearly focused on quality rather than quantity unlike other ventures in this space, including Quora.

And for PRs, Branch clearly has legs. It’s a place where thought leadership, for example, could flourish. If branches start showing up in search then it could be another opportunity for businesses to demonstrate skill and expertise.

So sign up for the beta and check out some branches. Whether you’re interested in tech or TV shows, there’s bound to be something to interest you.

Danny Whatmough