After being in “maintenance” mode for a couple of years, App.net is shutting down completely. I quite liked the service and their ambitious ideas for enabling more than just a 140-character stream. I had a paid subscription for a while, but ultimately it didn’t pan out. The network effects never took hold, and it ended up as too small a niche to be self-sustaining.
So I’m intrigued to see Manton Reece trying to do something new in this same space. He is running a kickstarter for an “indie microblogging” service (micro.blog), and a book to go along with it. From what I can tell, it’s a re-thinking of classic blogging tools and RSS for the modern era. RSS readers were great, but nowadays people expect the simplicity of clean-looking apps and a simpler, more socially-oriented timeline. This looks like it might provide a solution along those lines, while still being rooted in the open web, and holding on to its distributed nature.
Homestly, I’ll be surprised if the service turns into a long-term sustainable venture. The niche of people who care if their social network is a walled garden or built on open standards is tiny, and shrinking. But I’m still going to back it, because I’m one of them.