Stop saying App.net is a Twitter clone

ADN

When I sat down to write this, I thought about doing it all professional-like, pretending it would be something that would appear in Wired or some such. But I decided to opt against that. Why should I pretend that I don’t have strong feelings on something? That would be very unlike me. So here goes.

Last night I saw some posts on ADN (that’s what users call App.net btw) from someone I have followed on Twitter for years and someone I respect, Patrick LaForge. Editor of News Presentation at the New York Times. Patrick’s posts expressed, among other things, a desire for ADN to become distinct from Twitter and Facebook. Reading this, I became compelled to finally write down what I’ve been wanting to say for a long time.

ADN is not like Twitter. Let me repeat that. ADN is not like Twitter. One more time with feeling. ADN IS NOT LIKE TWITTER.

Allow me to explain the way I know best, by using a metaphor. Think of Twitter as a hammer. It’s made of metal, but the metal has been fashioned into a hammer. A hammer is mostly only good for one thing: hammering in nails. I suppose you can misuse it to bash someone’s head in, but most people just use it to hammer in nails. So outside of a few edge cases, it has a discrete and finite purpose.

Now think of ADN as metal. It can be shaped into a hammer, but it can also be shaped into anything else metal can be used to make. Currently, ADN looks like a hammer to many people, because that’s the most prominent thing that has been made from it. Also, it’s recognizable. After seven years of Twitter i.e. the hammer, people see another hammer and say aha! I know exactly what this is. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only thing ADN is even right now and it certainly doesn’t mean it’s the only thing it will ever be.

I actually don’t understand why the concept is so difficult for people to grasp. All of you reading this probably use Facebook, right? You can use your Facebook account to post updates, photos, share links, etc., but you can also use it to play games and do lots of other things via applications that developers build for Facebook. The same is true of ADN, It’s just early still and no one seems to knows about the non-Twitter like applications that have already been built. Many more will surely follow.

Does everyone get it now? I really hope so. If you still don’t, why not try it out and see for yourself. You can also sign up for free via the iPhone app or the Android one. And please find me if you have questions.

In my next post, I will talk further about what makes ADN so special and why it is more than worthy of your time and attention. But for now at least, I hope we have the idiotic Twitter comparison resolved.

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