Ben Brooks, in discussing App.net’s first birthday, makes two great points:
Explaining the product is only part one of the issue, part two is that App.net failed to capture the “top” nerds. Yes John Gruber, and Marco Arment are on App.net, but they don’t actually use it. I suspect they pop in from time to time and they stay on Twitter. 1
App.net is hard to explain to geeks that tolerate Twitter and even those geeks don’t use the service in full-force.
Ben nails it with these points — they really hit home for me.
While App.net is more than just a Twitter clone, the whole reason for my joining last year was…for the Twitter clone, effectively. Obviously, I’m a geek who wanted to check it out, but also I, like others, were (and still are) unhappy with the way Twitter conducts itself as a business.
App.net is nice; I like it well enough. But I have real trouble engaging myself there, outside of auto-pushing links to blog posts and copying-and-pasting the occasional tweet. I get that App.net is different, and that’s all well and good, but I don’t want to force myself to actively use the service if the intrinsic motivation isn’t there. It’s just not compelling for me. I do check my timeline a couple times a day, but that’s about it. It’s truly a miracle that I’ve amassed nearly 1,100 posts.
For better or worse, Twitter is really where it’s at for me — and, as Ben alludes to, that’s the case for others as well. I get my news from Twitter. The people with whom I interact seemingly use Twitter far more. And, frankly, it’s much easier to explain Twitter to a non-geek than it is App.net.
Will my feelings and usage pattern ever change? It’s hard to say, but right now, what I wrote last year still holds true today. App.net can’t hold a candle to Twitter in my life.