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Calling Bullshit On Potluck

Everyone is talking about Potluck. I may be going out on a limb, but I call bullshit.

Nick Bilton, Sharing a Potluck of Links, Not Food

A new Web site called Potluck, by the New York-based start-up Branch, began this week, with the hope of simplifying both link-sharing and the chatter around those URLs.

Potluck, the Web site, works much like a real potluck, where a number of people bring dishes to a dinner party and everyone gets to sample them all. But instead of salads and casseroles, people share links with their friends, or friends of friends, and they can discuss why they like or dislike the offering.

Josh Miller, co-founder of Branch and Potluck, said one of the biggest challenges online was still meeting people you didn’t know but trusted enough to talk to.

“Today’s teens use social networks and only talk to people they know, which seems so silly,” he said. ”If you start a Potluck room, and a conversation about a link, everyone in there may not know each other. But like a dinner party, they trust each other because you said they were invited.”

Mr. Miller said he believed that the next big trend of the Web would be creating sites where you could “interact with cool people that you don’t know, or don’t know that well.”

I am unsold. 

90% of what I find interesting on Tumblr and Twitter comes from people sharing links, and I have a real investment in those cascades, because I curate my curators.

Why? I don’t think I have an unmet need to interact with random unknown people. After all, Josh Miller is not screening out the uncool, so after the surge of the glitterati it will be simply random people, even if they are the next door neighbor of somehow I vaguely know. My real need is to gather information that is critical to my ongoing research practice, ie living on earth in the present day. And as a side effect of that, I have been meeting really cool people already, in the normal course of events. They are my Twitter contacts, or the folks I follow on Tumblr.

Potluck has it backward.

My needs are much more intentional. I don’t want to wander around in a more-or-less random subset of the web, with the opportunity to chat about what I am looking at. I didn’t use Chatroullette, either, for not-too-dissimilar reasons (oh, and the penises).

And the stuff showing up on my Potluck is already trending toward bland rather than awesome:

image

I could care less about the Arctic Monkeys. Dachshund puppies? C-3PO rapping?

Everyone who runs a commenting system ends up killing themselves or shooting up a post office. - Andrew McLaughlin

90% of what I find interesting on Tumblr and Twitter comes from people sharing links, and I have a real investment in those cascades, because I curate my curators. In some cases that leads to conversation, but how much time can I spend conversing with people everyday about dachshund puppies, anyway?

Josh is obsessed with commenting systems, but he should remember what Andrew McLaughlin said, after taking over as CEO at the new Digg:

Everyone who runs a commenting system ends up killing themselves or shooting up a post office.

It’s probably no accident that I really dislike potluck dinners. There are usually way too many side dishes, never enough meat, and the food is generally way too cold.

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  1. bymichaelandrew reblogged this from stoweboyd and added:
    I don’t really agree with everything he said, but some very interesting thoughts here.
  2. trebaolofarabia reblogged this from stoweboyd
  3. gbattle said: There’s WAY too much to comment on here. I will have to save it for later …
  4. om reblogged this from stoweboyd
  5. stoweboyd posted this