Check Out Branch, An Exclusive Message Board For Smarter Online Discussions

josh miller branch

Photo: joshm.co

We’re not quite sure what to make of Branch, a new discussion board backed by some of the biggest names of Silicon Valley.Is it supposed to be like Twitter, but without the 140-character limit? Is it like Facebook, where you are only talking amongst your friends? Is it a Quora killer? Or a message board?

Whatever it is, the result is pretty nice: the site is filled with very intelligent discussions — if not skewing a bit on the side of armchair philosophy.

The basic function of Branch to create exclusive discussions that only a few people can publicly engage in, yet anyone can tune in and watch.

Membership is invite-only for now, so sign up here if you want to give Branch a go.

With the co-founders of Twitter serving as advisors, New York-based startup Branch has raised about $2 million in funding, so they have to be doing something right.

Branch, at least for now, is pretty exclusive. You have to request an invitation if you want to get in.

You can't even view the main website if you haven't picked up an invite yet.

However, you can view specific branches and subscribe to updates from them via email until you get an invitation.

If you follow a Branch without an update, you'll see email updates like this one.

Luckily, we got a chance to take a peek and look around. Join us!

They clearly spend a lot of time trying to show just how exclusive this network is. It's like getting your acceptance letter from Hogwarts.

Here's what you'll actually see when you become a member. The top discussions show up in this landing page.

To start a Branch, just hit the compose button. You can invite people via email and Twitter.

If you invite someone via Twitter, it'll send them a direct message with a Branch invite.

Let's invite a few people and get the conversation started.

This is sure to strike up some intelligent conversation...

... or not. But when someone's invited to a discussion, it appears that they automatically get an invitation to join Branch.

You share the Branch from each individual conversation. They can be embedded or shared through Twitter — so the site grows based on who is brought in.

We're guessing the idea is that the best Branchers will invite other great Branchers, and it'll grow that way.

After all, some of the discussions are very insightful and very relevant. If you're interested in the specific author...

... you can follow him or her directly on Twitter. Branch is basically tied at the hip to Twitter.

Android, on the other hand, is hardly confusing...

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