What makes App.net special

Phillip Gruneich has an interesting post about what’s different about ADN, with thoughts on the global feed and link posting:

“App.net is a different environment and it must be preserved that way. If you get into it and decide to behave like it is a Twitter alternative, then the differences will fade away and we’ll lose a precious experience.”

There are some ideas in here that surprised me. For example, I’m not sure I agree that everyone reads the global feed, nor that people should be discouraged from linking to anything but their own work. I love to post links to products from friends and companies that are doing interesting things.

Even if it isn’t as busy as on Twitter — Twitter disabled their global feed years ago when it started moving too fast to be read — it would still be difficult to do anything more than occasionally skim the global feed on ADN.

He does hit on something important, though. Because it’s a paid service, and there’s a cost to additional accounts, most of the users are actual people. There are fewer companies and parody accounts. (But I did end up getting @riverfold on ADN, which I felt was a nice compromise when compared against my 4-5 app accounts on Twitter.)

So I might not use ADN in exactly the same way that Phillip does, but the hope that ADN remains unique is the same because it’s something nearly everyone on ADN probably hopes for. And that’s the really good news: if what makes ADN special is the people, then it’s because all of the people have something in common. They didn’t chose ADN by accident, or because it was the default choice. They chose it because they wanted something better.

In the short 5 months since I wrote about ADN’s start, I’ve become a big fan of the founders, the quality of the API and developer program, and the general tone of ADN users. There might not be a single best way to use ADN, and that will become even more true over time as the scope of the API grows. But there’s no question that it is a special service that deserves to be a peer with Twitter and Facebook in terms of new apps and conversations, even as it exists in a different world where huge “1 billion user” scale doesn’t matter.