A few months back, a new social network named App.net (or as the cool kids call it, ADN) was launched with the goal of raising funding of $500,000, if they were to move forward. When all was said and done, the company blew past their goal, pulling in $803,000. The paid service is very much like Twitter, but with some key differentiators. First, App.net is a paid subscription service. Early adopters were able to choose their username for a $50 yearly fee. Yearly memberships are now $36 or you can opt for $5 per month. $100 gets you one year of service, coupled with developer access to their API. The activity level there is sparse and much of the posts are duplicates of what you’d find on Twitter. As Twitter starts to slowly push away developers, ADN might prove to be the future of short message based social networks. No advertising, less clutter and they embrace developers. As a result, there is plenty of activity when it comes to apps for ADN and here are the best App.net apps.
As a free app, Rivr is a solid option that makes use of panes in their design. The main interface shows posts, a ‘+’ sign to create a new post and a menu pane that is accessible by swiping right in your feed or tapping on the menu icon at the top left. Tapping on any post reveals a slideout pane on the right to repost, reply, view conversation or to delete. Shared images appear inline and at full width, which i found to be nice feature of Rivr.
The use of green and beige is different from the pack. Not sure if that’s good or bad. Considering the high price from most apps, this is quite good for the price of free. The developer offers a $1.99 in-app upgrade option to receive notifications on mentions.
If you love Tweetbot, which we’ve dubbed the best app for Twitter, you’ll love NetBot. Everything about this app feels just like Tweetbot, but slightly tweaked for the nuances of ADN. It will autofill @users based upon those you follow and two of the menu bar items can be customized. If there is one fault, it’s that familiarity which at times will cause you to forget which social network you’re on. There is no Direct message option and the search icon will reveal options to view the global feed. On Twitter, that would be crazy talk. Given the lack of activity on this network, it is at times, the only way to interact with ADN. I’m following 59 people and I can skip a day and catch up rather quickly. Your mileage may vary.
Adian is a simple, fast app.net client. There are no whiz bang effects. I appreciate the simplicity here. Four tabs on the bottom prove quick and easy access to your feed, mentions, your posts and the global feed. The More button at the top will allow you to perform a variety of searches, review your profile and your favorites called ‘Stars’ in App.net. Posting images or media requires either FireFoto or Flickr accounts. With FireFoto, you can add filtered effects. These are an interest add-in, but pale in comparison to high quality filters on apps like Instagram.
If you desire a fast client, your search for an app.net client should begin and end with Adian.
While premium apps like NetBot have strong lineage due to their development of clients for Twitter, Felix is a relative newcomer to the space. While users have been pitching Twitter app devs to create ADN clients, the reverse could be said for Felix. Although it does allow for crossposting between App.net and Twitter, I’d love to see them create a Twitter client.
It’s a beautiful interface that is complimented by subtle, yet slick features. For example, App.net supports cover photos. When you view a profile and begin scrolling down (by swiping up), the persons image gets auto resized to neatly fit in front of their cover photo. It’s small details that really make you appreciate this app. There are some minor hurdles, as the app requires you have either a Droplr or CloudApp account to share photos. Droplr is free and worked well. Images posted are neatly framed and users can click to see a larger version.
Where you live in the main screen is simply elegant. Every element is impeccably designed. The bottom row [l-r] shows my stream, mentions, global and profile. Wedged in the middle is the posting button, that will bring up a minimalist posting interface.
Felix is a nice mix of beauty intersecting with function.
While their initial funding was successful, it’s still too early to gauge whether ADN will succeed. Despite Twitter’s mistreatment and hostile attitude towards developers, the impact of software development waning has yet to impact most Twitter users. The action and interaction is still on Twitter. Does Twitter have to see some level of fail in order for DN to succeed? I’m not sure, but I do think the clock is ticking. If it were smaller and more intimate, that would be a selling feature. Right now, ADN is small, not very active and costs money. That’s not a winning combination. I hope they succeed, mostly due to their embracing of third party developers, which should translate to a better selection of apps. The current crop of apps are impressive, but it’s the network that needs to deliver on their part of the bargain.
It’s hard right now to recommend App.net, let alone the added investment of an app. Rivr is your best bet if you want a free app to try the service (not entirely free considering the need for a subscription). The paid apps are stellar with Felix leading the way and a steady stream of new apps finding their way into the App Store each week.
Have a favorite App.net client? Let us know in the comments.
If you make your way to ADN, I can be found @meinck.