I’ve put my $50 into the tip jar because I’m curious if it’s really possible to maintain a stable microcommunication platform in competition to Twitter. Back when identi.ca tried this, it didn’t gain strong adoption and Diaspora obviously took its name as a self-fulfilling prophecy.
There are people who object that, as James argues in a comment on Bernie’s post, “we don’t need another (centralized) network”. Well, we had all that already when they launched identi.ca aka StatusNet – open, decentral, federated. But from my perspective, it’s not the technology that matters first, it’s adoption. I’m optimistic that App.net will add federation later after they transform the healthy adoption that gave them more than $500,000 in start money to a stable user base.
App.net could be the right thing at the right time, as Twitter continues to alienate its user and third-party developer base. And they have something to show, only a few weeks after first announcing the project. The alpha version of the website works well (granted, with minimal functionality) and their developer ecosystem is bustling. I also like the transparency the App.net team strives for, for example by using Github for maintaining not only their software but also their TOS.
I’m looking forward to what my fellow App.net users and I will make of the platform. For a start, we’ve already put our money where our mouth is.