Two Weeks On App.net (alpha)

Today I’m celebrating my two week anniversary of being on the new social media App.net. though it’s still in development, I’ve been dabbling with the alpha version ahead of its full release. For those of you that are not in the know, app.net was a crowd-funded idea from Dalton Caldwell.  The primary aim was to create a service that evolved solely around the user base rather than fulfilling the needs of advertisers. This comes at a cost however; in order to create a service without advertising, it is in turn funded by the users. Current options including a standard account for $50 and a developer account costing $100.

The following video is of Dalton Caldwell talking about app.net before it achieved the original funding target of 500k dollars.

Initial Thoughts

The first notable difference from networks such as Facebook & Twitter is the user base. Unlike these more established networks, there’s a distinct absence of businesses present. There’s nothing to stop businesses from creating an account yet the initial uptake appears to be minimal. There’s no doubt in my mind that charging for the service instantly deters a large number of people from just impulsively signing up for the sake of it. In my eyes, this is the perfect network to break away from the nor, particularly if you’re fatigued by the subtle sell of businesses on the bigger social networks.

The style of content I’m seeing from the few users I follow, along with the global feed, seems to be much more conversation based (very much like Twitter when it was first knocking around). There’s practically no bragging of what someone ate for tea (thanks Twitter) or photos of users passed out on the toilet (thanks Facebook). Of course, you’ll always eventually get such content appearing, though in comparison to existing networks, it’s practically non existent.

The Future

With App.net still only being in Alpha mode, it’s tricky to predict what the future holds, or which current network it may even resemble. The current Alpha release is a skeletal-like framework, which gives developers a chance to create exciting applications which could help steer the future of the network. Alternatively, App.net may integrate more complex tools and applications into the main site itself , which will definitely indicate where the App.net team see its future. Definitely the network to keep an eye on.

How about you? Are you on there? Have you found a use for it that the other networks have yet to cater for?

Article by James Duffell

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