Twitter directors launch new online sharing sites

They inspired a boom in self-publishing with Blogger, then turned the world to 140 characters with Twitter. Now Ev Williams and Biz Stone have launched two new websites Medium and Branch – in what they hope will prompt an "evolutionary leap" in online sharing.

Williams and Stone are still directors of Twitter, but are involved in the new ventures through their San Francisco-based incubator fund, The Obvious Corporation.

Like Twitter, both Medium and Branch are publishing platforms where users can share pictures, articles and text. And both are more or less splinter services to Twitter.

Medium is built around collections. For now Medium is invite-only, but soon anyone will be able to start a collection and publish their own photographs or writing.

Collections appear in a very visual grid format, with the highest-ranked post always at the top.

You sign in to Medium using your Twitter account but the idea is that people can read, view and vote on content without worrying about developing their own audience.

Branch is the place for Twitter users to have more in-depth conversations with each other. You can start your own "branch" and invite other Twitter users to join you.

For example, the technology blogger MG Siegler started a branch on Apple hardware leaks and then invited 10 other high-profile gadget bloggers to discuss the topic.

"Our philosophy is that quality begets quality, so we will grow Medium smartly, ensuring that our platform is valuable to everyone in this increasingly mobile, connected, and noisy world," said Williams. – © Guardian News & Media 2012

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