Imagine a world where your favourite microblogging service had no advertising but cost you $5 per month. Imagine if that same microblogging service also gave you 256 characters to play with. You may think you’re looking at one possible future for Twitter. In this case, I’m actually talking about new kid on the block, App.net.
What is App.net?
App.net is what happens when a community speaks out. App.net is what happens when not everyone is happy with what’s served up in front of them. App.net is what happens when other networks put the advertiser before the user. App.net is described here by founder and CEO, Dalton Caldwell, in what is possibly the most uncharismatic talking head video ever:
And with that, I decided to give it a go myself.
Setting up the account was easy enough. The only painful part was putting in my card details. That’s a problem with me, not them. The restrictions on image file size and physical size are a bit of a hang up. Sure, I can go and re-size my images so that they work… but I don’t want to. I’ve come to expect that these things will be done for me and surely if Mr. Average Consumer were to set up an account, he’d get thoroughly annoyed at this and not know how to fix it. I decided to find some images that met the spec rather than make the images I want fit the hole.
Posting an update is as simple as it is on Twitter. Just type what you want to say and hit post. You get a whole 256 characters to play with here. Having dealt with 140 for so long, I feel I don’t really need more but I guess that’s a personal preference thing.
As for finding people to follow, the search process works quite well although I couldn’t find many people I’d actually want to follow. Early days.
App.net supports hashtags and @ mentions in the same way Twitter does. In fact, there are so many similarities, I’m expecting a lawsuit any time now.
Will App.net succeed?
Being completely honest, I don’t think it will. Certainly not in its current form. At least, I don’t think it will ever go mainstream. Perhaps it doesn’t need to. One advantage App.net has over other networks is the ability to scale as and when they need to. Each time a user signs up, they get more money. In theory, they will always have capital to expand.
If you find yourself on App.net, stop by my profile (@LStacey) and say hi. If I haven’t already forgotten about it by then, perhaps we could have a chat!