Twitter was a great idea. It wasn’t alone, but it’s the only micro-blogging platform that stood the test of time. I knew them all, thanks to an old app I wrote called MoodBlast. If you’ve never heard of it, you’re probably in good company. Suffice to say that it was a way to post to Plurk, Pownce, Facebook, Twitter and others in one stroke. Only two of the nine services it worked with survived in any meaningful manner.
I contend that If it weren’t for Twitter’s API—both early on and the more developed versions that followed—it never would have gained the initial traction it needed. Third-party developers made Twitter. Now it’s packed with mundane, moronic and even violent users that Twitter plans to use to pay its bills. Those of us who saw a meaningful form of information dispersal are being asked, indirectly, to move on.
Enter App.net. It’s a ballsy startup; well-timed and with the potential to offer a landing spot for those of us who just don’t want to be a part of what Twitter has made evident it wants to become. I’m a financial backer of App.net now, and I have hopes for their future. I don’t know where it will be in a year, but I’m willing to find out.
App.net is attracting the developers that Twitter built its micro-blogging empire on. The developers whose initial excitement and continued support made it a household name and part of the tech vocabulary1. I hope that such a foundation is sufficient to provide a service with enough adoption to replace the resource that Twitter has become for me (and for many of us). The Twittersphere is by far my most valuable source of information and knowledge (or at least links to knowledge). I’m fine with losing Twitter, but I don’t want to lose that resource.
App.net won’t kill Twitter. The masses of users who create the trending topics that make me sad every time I dare to peek will continue to generate profit for them. In the way that Pinboard killed Delicious for me, I think that App.net will fill a void for those of us who use these services differently from the general public. Maybe it will be more, but if the Twitter users I trust and depend on as information sources make the switch, it will be all I need.
If you’re already part of the App.net crowd, I’m (as usual) “ttscoff” over there. I haven’t begun using it in earnest as of this moment, but intend to move as much conversation there as possible over the coming months. We’ll see how it turns out.
A better name has to be found. “Appdotnetted it” is never going to compete with “tweeted” in our vernacular. ↩