This week Twitter co-founders Ev Williams and Biz Stone launched a new link-sharing site called Potluck in an effort to get the majority of internet users who don’t share to speak out by sharing links with friends.
What makes Potluck different is that you see links shared by others on the service, but you don’t see who shared them until you actually click through to view the content. The intention is to make sharing less stressful and to put the focus on content being shared and not the person sharing it. In most cases only people who are interested in discussing a piece of content will ever know who shared it, and they’ll be of the same mind.
What Drives Sharing?
Potluck’s premise is based on the idea sharing has become personality-focused. People associate quality content with the sharer vs. what is being shared. For some users, the existing social landscape is an intimidating landscape to contribute to. Potluck’s hope is to flip that and make people congregate around pieces of content, not people who are pre-identified as influencers, which raises an interesting question.
Why do we share in the first place? Is it intended to help others? Maybe it’s to help ourselves? We do it, and it’s done. A link is posted to a social network and beyond that any follow-up conversation is limited. Most social networks aren’t set-up for much interaction beyond that because a share is so fleeting.
Potluck invites conversation. A share is only the beginning of something deeper. The question is whether or not people want to have it. On Potluck, a share is the conversation starter, an invitation to discuss what was shared. If this is what people want, Potluck may be on to something.
A Focus on Content
The web is filled with a lot of noise, and everything passes by quickly. Potluck slows things down and cuts through the clutter, emphasizing content and generating conversation, but conversation won’t occur if the initial content doesn’t invite it. Only quality content worth having a conversation about will get attention.
In this environment, an impression is not enough. Users need to dive deep into a piece of content for it to mean something. A brand’s fleeting message or quip isn’t enough.
Brands have been and still are being trained by platforms like Vine, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to make things short and sweet, but this often means it lacks substance. In the social web Potluck seems to be inviting, substance is key. Are brands ready for this shift if it happens?