A week or so ago I jumped aboard the App.net alpha because I felt it was my duty to keep tabs on any and all emerging social networks. At least that’s what I told myself when I plopped down $50 for a 12 month membership with the new social network designed to solve the ills of existing social platforms.
I was excited to connect with some of technology’s top minds in a setting that’s more intimate than Twitter and I loved the extra breathing room that the 256 character stream would provide. Most of all I loved the tenet of openness running through App.net.
As Twitter starts oppressing the very developers that made it great, I can’t help but root for the new network that promises openness. I was resistant to join something that would be blocked from many based on the fact that $50 is too much for much of the world (see Anil Dash’s post, ‘You Can’t Start a Revolution From the Country Club‘), but I had to support the promise of a different model.
Even though the technology behind App.net isn’t anything incredibly innovative from a technological standpoint, there’s something worthwhile in the social platform, something worth my attention.
As I spend time on App.net I realize exactly what that something is. App.net probably won’t replace the likes of Twitter in and of itself, but that’s not necessarily the point. As the new platform’s community finagles into a kind of social etiquette I realize that the real power of this platform is in its ability to become an incubator for some of the top thinkers in technology, publishing, and the web.
The concentration of developers across the App.net community is already a running joke, but it’s something worth paying more attention to. App.net is already catering to the hackers of the world. Now it has the potential to evolve into a kind of next-generation Hacker News. A place that, while not necessarily interesting for everyone, exists for the makers. The actual physical stream that is App.net may not be the future of social networking, but the ideas birthed out of the stream could be.
I already feel App.net’s users taking immense pride in the idea of open platforms and I believe that for the most part, they will take this philosophy into their work. To think, this is just the beginning. Just picturing the ideas that filter through this stream I think, this could a virtual idea incubator for the universe denters.
If you’re still reading and interested in saying hello on app.net, my username is Lauren. You can find me here.