I have posted my thoughts before on the quality of people who frequent the realm of App.net on a regular basis. However, in light of recent events providing more examples, I've decided to acknowledge it again with even stronger emphasis.
Simply put, App.net is overflowing with wonderful people. Really, amazingly, undeniably great people. The friendships being made, the kindness being paid forward, and the conversations being enjoyed reveal the fundamental flaws in the cultures of all other social networks. These flaws take the form of envy, hatred, and general bad feelings being constantly passed around on the timelines and news feeds of Facebook and Twitter. The fact that something called Facebook Depression, fed by your jealousy of the "friends" whom you follow, even exists serves to prove this point. Twitter as well is a popular place for people commonly known as "flamers" to go after you with hateful comments if they even slightly disagree with the thoughts you post. Oftentimes they will do this just for fun, or for the benefit of their friends. A quote from an old article in The Magazine exemplifies the popularity of such comments:
"You love to send withering @ messages to people like Rush Limbaugh—of course, those notes are not meant for their ostensible recipients, but for your friends, who will chuckle and retweet your savage wit."
I won't claim purposeless assaults like these are completely absent from App.net, but they are most certainly far less common. Moreover, when hateful attacks do occur, there are usually a number of other App.net users who instantly leap to the defense of the target of the attack, reprimanding the offender and reassuring the offended that their presence and posts are appreciated. Still, the kindness and loyalty of the people in App.net is not even best shown in situations like the this. Rather, it is best shown in their selflessness and incredible generosity:
A few days ago, the battery on my old MacBook died. I know that I am receiving a brand new MacBook for graduation in only two months, so I do not want to blow $130 on a new battery for two months of use. Without any real expectations, I posted about it on App.net, asking if anyone happened to have on old MacBook battery lying around. To my surprise (although I shouldn't have been surprised), I received an inundation of helpful comments not only about where to go to get a cheaper battery, but people actually offering me batteries they still had from old MacBooks that they no longer use. Unfortunately, none of these batteries fit the profile for my early 2008 MacBook Pro, but had they, those offering them would have gladly shipped me their batteries. These are people I have never met, being kind for no reason except that they are kind hearted people.
It gets better though. Crazily better. A few days ago, one of our friends on App.net was going through a hard time, and was in the hospital. (I don't believe it was life-threatening, but in the hospital nonetheless.) She sent out a post about how she wished she would get an iPad mini for her birthday in a couple months. Unprompted, another App.net user, Matt Shirey, launched an operation under the hashtag #operationupsidedownfrown. Matt's goal was to raise and send the money to the hospitalized ADNer to purchase an iPad mini for her birthday. Matt sent out the first post, and many of us retweeted it to our own followers. Within no more than day and a half, contributions small and large from many different App.net users in the community were brought together, and we raised $320 and sent it to our friend in need. She will now be the proud owner of a brand new iPad mini, all due to the ridiculous kindness and generosity of the people of App.net. They didn't know her in real life, many didn't even follow her, but when all they heard was that Matt needed help turning her frown upside down, and that a tiny contribution from them could aid in this goal, they sent money. Could you imagine this happening in any other social network? With people who you had never met or even heard of, and who had never heard of you either? The correct answer is hell no.
Perhaps this culture of camaraderie and compassion is brought about because people don't want to pay money to be mean, but there are free tiers now, and I haven't seen any sort of shift away from this culture. Maybe it's for some other definable reason that I and others haven't been able to think of. Whatever the reason, it is undeniable that App.net is overloaded with the kind and the caring. These people don't envy each other to the point of depression. These people (or at least the vast majority of them) don't attack each other needlessly. On App.net we stand together, united by the pleasure of friendship and good company.
Trust me, you need to be here.
In fact, here are six free invites for App.net. Come make some new friends! (First come, first served.)