Oy vey, another social network. But one worth investing in.
What is App.net?
CEO Dalton Caldwell explains it best:
In a nutshell, App.net is a new social network that looks like Twitter and that works like Twitter, but that also addresses Twitter's main problems and tries to solve them.
What are Twitter's main problems?
Well, spam, right? Garbage tweets that at best, clog up your tweet reader and at worst, link to viruses or other malware.
Actually, all that untreated and non-blocked spam is a symptom of the real problem- free, open access to anyone and everyone, include people who only want to abuse Twitter and the real, honest people who use it.
But there's no such thing as “free”.
If you're not paying with your wallet, you're paying with your time. Since Twitter doesn't make any money from you with user charges, it can only survive by making money off you through its various advertising options, including making unwanted ads appear in your tweet streams.
With that in mind, here's why I paid App.net's membership fee (yes, it costs money to use) and joined:
1. Twitter spam
I love Twitter and have benefited tremendously from it, but regardless of how many complaints and rants there are about the enormous Twitter spam level (and underground economy of fake profiles), Twitter has decided to hold off on cleanup and preventative action for now. Hopefully the success of App.net will make them rethink their position.
2. Paid network
As an aspiring entrepreneur, it's much more appealing to be part of a large paid social network, where the entire market has already proven they can and are willing to spend money on perceived value. Put differently, in most cases a small list of buyers is more valuable than a large list of non-buyers.
3. It's cool
As a Computer Science graduate and programmer (= nerd), I have a soft spot for a cool, open-source project like this one.
More seriously, because of the economics of their advertiser-oriented business model, Twitter has evolved from a developer-friendly platform to a not-so-developer-friendly platform, drastically reducing the quantity and quality of 3rd-party services that can be provided by professional and amateur developers (freely or for-pay), counting us users among the losers. This shouldn't happen with App.net.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly-
4. Personal branding
Being first (or among the first) in your niche in a new network makes it easier to stake out territory and build your personal brand in that network.
Need I say more?
One of the problems with joining a new social network is having a critical mass of people to network with. Even though App.net only launched recently, they've already reached that critical mass as you can see via their state-of-the-network stats page.
In fact, so many people have joined, they've lowered the price.
So setup your avatar and your profile, and start tweeting. Get the ball rolling by cross-posting from Twitter.
Join now and follow me when you do.
I originally published a version of this article on the terrific Personal Branding Blog.