Yes, I backed App.net.
In the eleventh hour. After it had long since been funded. After everyone had done it. Right before the end.
Because I was conflicted. I was conflicted because on one hand I didn’t want another social network that I had to deal with and keep track of, but on the other hand I wanted to put my money where my mouth was. Like many people, I don’t like what’s happening with Twitter and I want to see something different come to fruition. Unlike many people, I am not clamoring for yet another network that I have to keep track of.
I realize that the network effect will not take place for a very long time, if at all, but I am prepared to make the jump if and when it becomes viable. In the meantime, I plan to stay on Twitter and do all the things I have been doing because Twitter remains the place where my information is piped into my brain. My friends are there. My colleagues are there. I finally got my sister there, damn it. I just thought that at this point in my life, it was worth something for me to actually put money behind all the complaints that I am liable to make against free services and the business choices they make.
I have no delusions of grandeur about App.net’s potential for success. Nor do I really want to stop using Twitter. Admittedly, a small, selfish part of me wanted to just grab my username. But a larger part of me wanted to actually throw some support behind a handful of guys who are trying to make something good come out of nothing. Twitter’s recent post about API changes and the effect it will have on third-party apps is, to a lot of us in the space, the death knell for the service as we’ve grown to love it.
Why did it take me so long to make the choice? That’s a deeper question. Part of me wanted it to fail. Not to be right, but because I was hesitant to make a change. Because change is hard. And part of me (I think) still likes a struggle. Still likes to feel like I’m fighting out from under a weight. Twitter has been instrumental in the last few years for me because of what it’s become and what it’s allowed me to do. It’s changed the Internet for me. Forever. But I’ve changed with it. And now that it’s changing, I don’t know quite how to feel. And that leaves me with even more questions. Like, where exactly do I draw the line with the service and the value it provides for me? Where do I say enough is enough? And where and when do I jump ship for something else?
As I said, change is hard. But new stuff is fun. But the people you like are there. But you want to be over here. I don’t know (none of us do) what’s going to happen. I just know that I don’t want to sit around complaining anymore. I want to do whatever little I can to change.