Is Potluck Social Sharing Site a Solution Without a Problem?

By Cameron Scott 

links, link sharing, social networks, social media, Obvious Corp., Twitter, Facebook, Flipboard, Potluck, BranchBranch, a project of Obvious Corp., today launched Potluck, a link-sharing service that aims to support communities of shared interests, rather than online personae.

When a user shares a link, his or her social contacts don’t see who shared it unless they click on the link. Each link creates a chatroom experience around it, where users can interact freely with one another.

“Potluck takes the performance out of sharing by making it more personal and less stressful,” Branch said in its announcement.

Focusing on the content is a worthy ambition. But are performance anxiety and inconvenience really big enough problems to drive users to Potluck? Probably not, according to Gartner’s director of research Brian Blau.

“I’m not that excited about Potluck despite the fact that I live and die by link saving/sharing. I mean, links are still a very popular way to share information and most of the social services we use today support some level of link sharing, and most do a good job at taking care of how to post articles, news and information obtained from links,” he said.

It’s difficult to win new users in today’s saturated social market, and Potluck seems to have made its path even more difficult, Blau also noted.

“Because Potluck is a reciprocal friend model, it means adoption will be slower than if they had implemented a friend-follow model. I’m not convinced we need another link sharing service given the trends today to support more robust content sharing such as Flipboard’s magazines that delivers a really unique user experience,” he said.

Even so, Flipboard’s success — it boasts 50 million users — is driving a wave of new competitors.

Branch launched Potluck as a Web service but said an iOS app will drop soon.