ADN (that’s what the cool kids are calling it) seems to have pushed through a homepage redesign, and I figured that was reason enough to explain why it’s not just a Twitter clone, in my mind.
Current functionality is similar to Twitter. A large number of articles written and users discussing it are pointing out a similarity to Twitter in the early days, when it was a tighter community of people who were talking about the same subjects - things people nerd out about, but mostly technology.
App.net, to me, has more in common with RSS than Twitter.
RSS (really simple syndication) is one of those things that has become the sinew of the web, without people knowing about it. RSS is used for a million things, all based on a simple principal - publishing a feed of updates, in one static place. Google reader is built on RSS, doing what it was initially intended to do. Podcasting is built on RSS. A ton of the automated public sharing that happens online is RSS based.
Twitter was free, and popular, so many people started to try to use it as a social equivalent. A way of sharing information between platforms, importing social graphs, exporting data to social feeds, etc. For many people, this may have been the greatest value of Twitter. But it isn’t what Twitter wants to be, so these uses are getting cut off.
App.net costs $5 a month, at most, and $36 a year at minimum. Developer access costs $100 a year. This is infinitely less free than Twitter, or RSS.
I’m comfortable paying that to have a social equivalent to RSS available to developers who are trying to build new and interesting things. I’m buying into the inventive betas of the social web.
That’s worth more than $5 a month, to me.