Branch rolls out Groups to organize conversation parties

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Credit: Branch

Branch, a recently launched conversation startup funded by two Twitter founders, is now introducing a new feature called Groups that allows a set of people to establish a little community for discussions. Instead of inviting individuals into Branches over and over again, a host can set up a group that can conduct future conversations or can be added en masse to any other discussion.

A host can invite group members one time through a link and members of a group can start a conversation within the group at any time. The group will have its own web page that can attract followers, who can ask to join the group or just follow the conversation. A follower can also track any new conversations started by the group, just like a Twitter user can follow tweets from someone after following their account.

The goal is to recreate the small conversations that sprout up at a dinner party, said Josh Miller, the CEO and founder who dropped out of Princeton to start the company. Each group can serve as a little dinner party, which can create new conversations.

Branch, Josh MillerWe’ve been looking at publishing more of own internal staff conversations here at GigaOM, which normally take place on Socialcast. We recently posted one discussion about tweeting during a disaster. That worked out well, but in the future, we might look at something like Branch to record and publish those discussions. The problem is, it’s hard to know when a conversations will turn into anything worth sharing.

It’s unclear how many people are using Branch at this point. The service, which has been funded by Twitter founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone, is part of a new generation of publishing tools along with Medium, another project from Williams and Stone, that is aimed at helping people collaborate and publish to the web.

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Talton Figgins

I’m glad to see the addition of groups, since it makes the invitation piece of Branch a bit easier.

I recently started my first Branch a month ago, though I’ve know about Branch for a while. I honestly didn’t know how to use Branch at first. It finally clicked when I noticed that I was asking several people a similar question and realized that I could ask each of these “specific” people all at once on Branch.

Since the conversation is public, others jumped in to provide some additional perspective. At the end there was some cool info which came out of it, which is still public for others to see.

Twitter, Facebook, StackExchange, and even blogs are all great places to ask questions but it’s still simply broadcasting. It’s a different experience when you’re inviting someone specifically to be a trusted addition to the conversation. The invitation step serves as a vital ignition step to get the conversation going, which is often a struggle.

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