The world needs more social networks like it needs more politicians. Then again, we've got some time for Potluck, if only because the service is financially backed by Ev Williams and Biz Stone -- two guys who have form when it comes to spotting a good idea. Potluck's iOS app, which has just benefited from a major overhaul, throws curated news stories at you one by one. Then it asks you to tap "yay" or "nay" depending on whether you find the topic enticing -- a bit like the way Tinder works, but applied to headlines instead of scary faces. If a particular story sparks your imagination and urge to banter, the app connects you with friends who've read the same article so that you can right the world's wrongs together. Or, you know, find even nastier things to say about poor old Miley Cyrus.
If you've ever been so embroiled in a chat or sharing splurge that you've been told to "take it off of Twitter," you now can -- sort of. Twitter co-creators Biz Stone and Ev Williams have launched Branch and Medium, two companion services that (naturally) use a Twitter sign-in but narrow the focus to just a few subjects. As the name suggests, Branch lets especially vocal Twitter users invite others into conversations that don't clutter everyone's feeds or cut replies off at the 140-character limit. Medium? Think of it as Pinterest turned publishing platform: members can publish either a static collection of favorite articles and media, for reading and rating, or leave it open for more collaborative efforts. There's no rush to open the floodgates to the invitation-only portals, though. Stone and Williams see the quietness of their new services as an antidote to the madness of regular social streams, and we can't help but sympathize.
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