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Agence France-Presse
June 27, 2013
Social discussion platform Branch launched a new social network called Potluck on Tuesday, June 25, based purely around discussion stemming from the sharing on links.
Branch is a social discussion platform developed by Obvious Corporation, a start-up incubator created by Twitter co-founders Ev Williams and Biz Stone as well as Twitter staffer Jason Goldman. The platform curates groups of people to discuss topics on which they are knowledgeable.

Potluck is described on its blog as a "house party on the internet" and is essentially a link sharing network. Once users have signed up they share links related to topics they are interested in, whether that be music, politics, religion, hobbies or others, and can see links that others have shared. However, unlike other social networks, Potluck does not show who shared the link -- no user name, avatar or other identifiable trait, simply the name of the link, the topic it relates to and the number of friends who have commented on it.

Once a user clicks a link that is of interest to them they are taken to a "room," what could be described as a chat room. Within this space users can preview the content of the link, see who has commented on or shown interest in it, leave comments themselves, "heart" the link (a sort of Facebook "like" equivalent), and mention friends in order to bring them into the discussion. Users receive notifications on discussions they are involved in or topics they are interested in to keep them abreast of all developments.

This structure places less emphasis on creating, and curating, an online personality -- though users do create basic profiles -- and more of an emphasis on sharing topics of interest and meeting like-minded people. The default view of Potluck, which shows the links your friends are discussing and, in turn, the links that their friends, who may not be known to you, are discussing, further facilitates the idea of meeting new people through the discussion of common interests.