Why I joined App.net

When I first heard of Twitter (sometime in 2006), I instantly dismissed it as a complete waste of my time. I stubbornly held to that view for two years before eventually signing up and realising I’d been very wrong.

When I first heard of App.net, again I instantly dismissed it. This time it’s taken me two months. I am now on App.net and this is why…

Look at me!

When I first checked out App.net back in August no one was using it. Well, some people obviously were using it, but not many, and the people that were came across as a little bit, how do I put it, “superior”?

The fact you also had to pay for the service just compounded that feeling of superiority. It was definitely an “in” crowd of early adopters and it seemed people were paying to belong to that crowd, before smugly claiming that it was just like the good old days of early Twitter. Not for me thanks.

I realise I’m tarring every early adopter with the same brush. Sorry. I know many have joined because they strongly believe in the values behind App.net. But I don’t think I’m alone in sensing more than a sprinkling of web elitism.

Better things to spend my money on

Lets be clear: I don’t actually object to paying to use a service I use as much as I do Twitter. I get value from Twitter, plus I’m a developer so I understand better than most what the real world costs for these things are.

But I think most people would object to paying - especially people outside the tech scene.

So the concept of paying to use App.net become a question of whether I had faith in App.net “making it” - becoming anything more than a somewhat elitist crowd of techie socialites. Google+, with all of the big G’s considerable resources, hasn’t made it. I could only conclude there were many better things I could spend $50 a year on!

Pure coincidence or pure genius?

When App.net announced they were dropping their membership price to $36 a year, the balance began to swing. Of course many will still object to paying, but some potential users who may have hesitated before will stop and and think again.

When the price change news was immediately followed by the release of Tapbots’ Netbot client then everyone stops and takes notice. Of course, there are already plenty of mobile clients, but this is a high profile developer, who just so happens to be in a certain “tangle” with Twitter, jumping on board at exactly the right time.

If either of these two events happened separately then I don’t think the impact would be as it has, so for both events to occur simultaneously? That’s genius.

It’s just like Twitter use to be

Yesterday my Twitter stream was full of people I follow signing up for App.net and cross posting from Netbot. Lots of people I already know are now using the service and the sheer volumes of people jumping on-board yesterday - and just the general buzz - has caused me to re-evaluate things.

I now have faith that App.net can make it (whatever that means). I admire the service’s values and raison d’être (you’d have to be a hardcore cynic not to), but there there’s a difference between admiring them and believing in them. The last two days have compelled me to believe in them. In true Dragon’s Den style, “I’m in!”

I’m now on App.net, please do follow me if you are too.

And it’s nothing like Twitter in the early days - I haven’t seen the site crash once yet.