I was sad when I read that Google Reader was ending and I want to examine that emotion. I love Google Reader. I also love Twitter and I’d be sad if Twitter stopped existing.
Except I don’t love either, really. I love the people I follow on Twitter. I’m grateful for Twitter connecting them to me the same way I’m grateful for Google Reader making it possible for me to keep track of the feeds that matter to me. Unlike the people they connect me to, neither service is wholly original or irreplaceable.
I’m ambivalent about Twitter, Inc. but I do love twitter.
I think this happened yesterday but I was very exhausted and I’m not sure: I had brunch with, among others, Harry Marks and Dalton Caldwell. Ostensibly, it was an open ADN meetup, but as one of only six guys around a table, I felt a bit like I was eavesdropping. Today Marks wrote a post about why he prefers ADN to Twitter, and it touches on some of the things we discussed yesterday. It’s a better post than the one that inspired it, which made a similar but poorly elucidated point. In that one, Ben Brooks champions ADN’s exclusivity and compares it to being a member of a private golf course, where “you can play several holes without seeing another soul.” As nice as that may be, it’s an ugly and ridiculous thing to want from a social network. Marks reframes this idea:
App.net is as inclusive as you can get because it puts users and developers first, not big-name companies and celebrities. App.net treats its user base as more than just one big antenna for ads and there are actual support channels that don’t end in .py. That means a lot to me.1
While I’m sure ADN would actually be thrilled if some celebrities used it, I think Marks has a good point that the only people who are being willfully excluded from the network are advertisers and spammers2, and that’s a good thing. I’m not yet sure that I love ADN but I get the sense that it loves me3, at least more than Twitter does. And not just me; it’s got a crush on people, and like most of my crushes, people don’t even know ADN exists.