App.net: or, how I learned to abandon Twitter and start having meaningful conversations

So some of you may have noticed that I’ve been talking or posting things here and there about App.net (or ADN). I promised I would elucidate, but haven’t made time for it. Well, this is me elucidating.

App.net is a social network service similar to Twitter or Facebook with an emphasis on privacy and developer interaction. In regards to privacy, ADN doesn’t sell users or their data to advertisers in an attempt to make money. Until very recently, ADN was a paid service, and the funds for keeping everything running were derived from those membership fees. However, there is now a free tier available by invite (from paid members) with a few limitations: free members can only follow 40 users and have storage and upload size restrictions. This has allowed ADN to start reaching out to others disillusioned by social networks that view their users as the product being sold, not the customer being served.

Another really neat thing about ADN is its very robust API that encourages developers to build apps and services to make ADN a stronger, better place. For example, any web developer can write their own front end for ADN and build a better site for users to access their stream. Apps for Mac, PC, iOS and Android are all being developed and many developers have even found ways to drastically rethink the uses for the service. Patter is a prime example of a developer using the private messaging feature of ADN to create chat rooms on a variety of topics that feel very similar to IRC of old. Users can create their own public or private rooms and even create a public room to which only certain members are allowed to post messages.

App.net is still in its infancy and developers are still figuring out how best to utilize its feature set while anxiously awaiting new features that are added regularly. I have already stopped using Twitter almost entirely and instead use ADN whenever I can. It’s an environment that heavily encourages discussion, as well as jumping into conversations in the middle, not unlike a public web forum. If it sounds like something in which you might be interested, let me know. I’ve got a few invites and I’m happy to dole them out when I can.

Or, if you just want to observe for the time being, check out my profile.

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