Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Why I love (ADN)

I joined ($5/month or $36/year) about five months ago. Although it's fundamentally a messaging infrastructure it's currently marketed as an ad-free social network.

I paid $50 at launch, and my account was extended when the cost dropped. That was money well spent; I expect to subscribe as long as they are in business. I love because ...

  • It has a very robust ecosystem of tools and services including multiple Mac and iOS clients and multiple web apps. I use Wedge, Netbot, NoodleApp and Appnetizen and will soon try Felix. There are multiple integration points to my Pinboard feed, including IFTTT support. Most of my posts start with [1] then go to Pinboard and turn into posts via IFTTT.
  • The community I interact with on is exceptional. More on that below.
  • I love the mission: a public (pay) communications infrastructure and related services that I purchase. I love paying for things I use.
  • The development team is delightful. I mean that literally; it's a joy to see them play and build on the platform - like @duerig's early stage Google Reader Share alternative, Patter-app rooms and private messages (EdChat) and vidcast shared video commentary.
  • 128 characters is stupid. 256 is not twice as good, it's eight times better. (Though URL characters count, so I use URL shortener services)
  • I'm 50+ and this is a relatively young community (though plenty of 40+ too). I'm old enough to enjoy that. The only young people I otherwise interact with are my kids (10-15) and their friends.
  • I have the (illusion) of helping build something good without, you know, actually having to do anything. (Hence the illusion bit.)
  • No advertising. Of course that doesn't mean no marketing; it means I choose the marketing I want)
The real hook for me, however, is the community. I follow a very smart and mutually respectful group of people. The conversation reminds me of Google Reader Shares, some of the BBS forums I joined via packet switching networks before there was public net access, but most of all it reminds me of my undergraduate conversations.
During my undergrad days I got to know 4 institutions, partly because I wanted to escape from the one I graduated from, partly because in Quebec everyone went to "junior college" (CEGEP) after grade 11. Whether they were elite or accessible I found great conversations everywhere.
There were good conversations at graduate school, medical school and residency as well (I spent a long time in school), but the undergrad conversations were the most interesting. reminds me of the best of those. It is, for example, the only place I can learn from the insights of a (gasp) republican.
The group I follow is a pretty tough bunch. If I'm sloppy, I get called on it. I love that -- it makes my thinking better. I learn things. won't last forever -- nothing does. But it's a good place now; it succeeds where Twitter failed me. 
If you'd like a free trial let me know at or in comments below -- I can share 3 invites.

[1] Alas may have been sunset. It's very unstable on the iPhone 5. Fortunately there are alternatives I can explore.

See also:

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