Not being one of the fortunate few to get pre-launch access to contribute to either site, my snooping has been limited to exploring the content.
On first impressions, Branch left me cold. The concept of allowing more in depth conversation is solid, but I’m not really one for long-running conversations on the internet. I can see specialists gathering round to discuss their particular interests, but not broader society who are generally interested in many things. The first time I looked at a conversation on Branch, my immediate reaction was that it was just a web forum of the type that has been around since the 90s. Once the site’s up and running, and you’re able to search and navigate for conversations, I’m sure it’ll prove its worth. I can definitely see its potential for collaboration and building deeper communities online. I’d say the Jury’s still out.
Medium, on the other hand, blew me away. It’s slick, it’s clever and I can see it taking on the likes of Pinterest and Tumblr and winning. The richness of the media, the breadth of what you can do and the ability to collaborate as well as stand on your own seems to fill a nice gap that sits between the microblogging type experience offered by twitter and the deeper, more time-consuming experience needed for blogging.
The templates used by Medium are visually strong, the content on there at the moment is beautiful, but can that quality be maintained? I hope it will. I’ve only spent a short amount of time poking around Medium and I’m already eager get access and start using it. If it can make others feel the same way, then it has a very bright future.