There are four types of users joining App.net.
Username gold rushers scared to lose out on “the next big thing”.
Developers unhappy at Twitter.
Curious onlookers with $50 to spare.
This works great for now, but App.net will eventually have to have a degree of mass appeal in order to continually attract users to the service. And, not to mention, sustain itself as a company.
The quality and value of an asymmetric network is defined by who you follow, and who you can follow. Twitter is compelling because we can subscribe to updates of people who pique our interest. Let’s face it, App.net’s target demographic is a subset of Twitter users, so it needs to attract them over.
App.net has a great set of seed users – much like Quora did when it first started – which certainly helps. But it has to quickly leverage that, and figure out the right messaging to grow its appeal beyond Silicon Valley. Or risk becoming an empty vessel when the novelty wears off. As one who knows App.net’s backstory, I do understand its vision. But will enough people have the patience, or understanding, to do the same?
App.net must position itself beyond just being a better ecosystem. It must illustrate relevancy in the face of existing social networks. It must first showcase value and utility over vision.
More importantly, App.net must let you tell the story of what it is to you.
Catch me on Twitter over here.