Sadly, it looks like the end for app.net is near. According to this post by Dalton Caldwell and Bryan Berg the site will be shutting down in March. It has been in maintenance mode since 2014 after failing to get enough adoption and therefore financial funding for new features to be developed.
Now, it looks like even the funding for keeping the system up and running has run out and so it will be shut down. Given that I myself haven’t had a paid account for quite a while, I feel hardly in a position to complain. That being said, esp. in the light of what platform Twitter has become over the last years, any alternative should be welcome and worth saving.
As Dalton wrote in his post, the biggest issue of App.net was probably the chicken-and-egg problem. I really enjoyed the service but Tweetbot was simply the far superior mobile app and so I posted less and less and eventually quit altogether. Looks like I wasn’t the only one.
But that wasn’t the only reason why I stopped using the service. It didn’t solve another of Twitter’s problematic aspects: It being centralized. I haven’t yet seen any good solution here, but perhaps something like diaspora might in the end attract enough users to become more mainstream.
Perhaps the only good thing that’s coming out of all this is that we might see all of App.net’s code eventually and for the foreseeable future on Github. I’m still curious what the developers have been up to over the last years as their respective Github profiles look rather empty 😦