App.net – Get In Early

Posted by on
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Hits: 3778
  • 3 Comments

I'm sure by now most of you have heard of App.Net. A new microblogging type service that aims to be much more. At first glance it looks a lot like Twitter, but it is much better in a few fundamental ways.

The first thing you'll notice is that you have 256 characters per 'post' instead of Twitter's 140. It is very liberating. Think in terms of 140 characters, and then actually spell out all of the words, use punctuation and clearly articulate your point.

Ok, who's kidding? That's actually the second thing you'll notice. First you'll notice that you have to pay for an account! WHHHHHAAAAAAATTTT? Pay? Money? For a social network? Aren't they all free? - No, social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, and pretty much most of the others (excluding Ping1) are not free. You don't pay with money, but you pay with time, attention, and the loss of personal privacy. With most social networks, you are not the customer, you are the product being sold2. With App.Net, you are the customer, and so you're the one paying with money. A normal member account is $50 per year. Which, is arguably cheap compared to Twitter. WHHHHHAAAAAAATTTT?

Let's take a quick look using some rough guesstimates comparing just 1 metric that you use to pay for your Twitter account: Time. Twitter is now starting to sell a lot of ads (promoted tweets) on its network. They've even started to push into selling a high volume of small accounts to users such as you and me, not just to the big guys. They've been giving away $100 starter accounts to promote their ad service. So, here's where we start to guess some numbers, we'll attempt to guess low in order to give Twitter the benefit of the doubt.

  • Assumption 1: on an average day, you see 15 tweets that are ads (promoted tweets, spam tweets, etc).
  • Assumption 2: it takes you 2 seconds to read/recognize and discard/move on.
  • Assumption 3: your time is worth more than $20/hour.

This means, over the course of a year, you're wasting 365 days * 15 tweets * 2 seconds = 10950 seconds = 182.5 minutes = 3 hours. For a monetary cost of over $60/year. And I know my time is worth a lot more than $20/hour.

This example ignores the cost you pay with your lack of privacy; Twitter and Facebook both track you as you move from site to site on the Internet, even when you're logged out!3

Two other benefits of App.Net that I won't get into detail on are: conversation views — much improved as you can see the whole thing, instead of having it forked into uselessness. It's a platform, not just a Twitter clone. Other apps and services that aren't possible with Twitter are being built right now on top of App.Net.

So, I encourage you to get on board with app.net, own your content, be the customer, and if you act pretty fast, get the name you always wanted....

Follow me on App.Net as @davewood and @cerebralgardens.

Footnotes:

1. No one uses Ping so there's no cost in time. (back)

2. Original quote via Gruber (back)

3. Original research (back)


This post is part of iDevBlogADay, a group of indie iPhone development blogs featuring two posts per day. You can keep up with iDevBlogADay through the web site, RSS feed, or Twitter.

Comments

  • Guest
    mikeru Wednesday, 29 August 2012

    Ping

    uhh, who said you don't pay with your information? Have you read the TOS?
    And anyway, they try to sell you music. That means, ads. And since iTunes recommends music based on your own music... Well...

  • Dave Wood
    Dave Wood Wednesday, 29 August 2012

    RE:Ping

    Sorry Mikeru,

    My point about Ping there was meant to be a joke about how no one uses Ping (see the footnote). But definitely, Ping is just like Facebook and Twitter where they sell your info, song choices etc. Ping has been largely unsuccessful and will likely disappear in the near future. So you can chalk that up as a joke gone wrong/misunderstood, or something.

  • Guest
    Guest Wednesday, 29 August 2012

    Interesting Interview

    Here's an interesting interview with Dalton Caldwell about App.net. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqgmYci3BMM

Leave your comment

Guest Wednesday, 01 October 2014