Jussi Pekonen

Year two on App.net

Posted on Friday August 22, 2014

Two years. Wow, it feels like it was yesterday when I wrote this. Time does fly by.

During this second year, many things have happened. In the beginning of this year, a lot of time was spent on discussing the state of the network. I also took part in that discussion and wrote a blog post where I pondered my options if ADN would fold. Other people demanded a clear indication from the network founders of the direction of the network. When they issued a statement, the sharks jumped and declared the network dead and an utter failure. Well, just for your information, the network is far from dead. It operates as it did before the State of the Union post and there are still a lot of people actively using it.

One thing that pisses me off in the most vocal “App.net is dead!” commentary is the false information those comments carry. Many have written how ADN was not profitable. Well, it was not profitable enough to keep the current employees, but as the SOTU clearly says, they were profitable enough to keep the servers running. Instead of taking all the cash and shutting down, they wanted the network to live on. Furthermore, they did not sell the network to anyone, not even to Facebook.

Another thing that the commentators have gotten wrong is the purpose of the network. Some people claim ADN failed because it had an identity crisis and it did not have a single use case or app. Actually, ADN was launched to provide the plumbing for social networking apps. They did create reference apps that would showcase the features of the plumbing, and these apps were never intended to be the canonical apps to use the network. However, many tech reporters got this message completely wrong, which has lead to this misunderstanding.

The third thing that I find annoying is the har-har comments about the size of the network. Many dismiss ADN because it is a small network, especially compared to Twitter and Facebook. Yes, ADN is small, but you should remember that Facebook did not get a billion users in a year either. Furthermore, those knee-jerkers are often claiming that the “free alternatives”[1] are better because you can have more followers/connections and the free tier of ADN is limiting in that sense. Yes, that is true, but if your only concern is the number of followers, ADN will not be your cup of tea at all. There the ability to communicate with people across the globe is the highest priority.

Although ADN may be dead for the most, I will be still using it as long as the servers keep on running. And to show more support to the network, I am upgrading my account from a paid tier to the developer tier today. I will not have an app ready to launch any time soon[2], but I like this network so much that $100 is, in my opinion, a cheap price for such a great thing.

If you want to leave a comment, ping me on ADN. I promise to reply. If I don’t reply immediately, I’m probably sleeping. Or being busy replying back to other comments.


  1. Seriously, those services are not free. You are the product that the service sells to advertisers. The only free thing in this arrangement is the data/content you create for the service to sell forward. I would say that you are the one who loses in this setup.  ↩

  2. I have been making plans to write an ADN app. It will not be a microblogging or photo sharing app. I will tell you more about the app once I have something ready.  ↩

Tags: Social media networks, App.net