Today we’re releasing our newest bots into the world; Netbot for iPhone and Netbot for iPad. These are our clients for the App.net social network. If you love Tweetbot and are on App.net, you’ll want Netbot.
Since yesterday's release, one of the most common complaints I've read regarding Netbot is its aesthetic similarity to its sibling, Tweetbot. For many, this has evidently caused a vast quantity of confusion as to which social networking environment they are currently engaged in. Accordingly, there is an overarching suggestion that Netbot's design should move away from its Twitter-prompted roots toward something altogether different.
The central flaw with this line of thinking is that it overlooks the fact that the usage of App.net is meant to obviate a person's use of Twitter. Tweetbot and Netbot are, at the end of the day, not designed to live in close harmony together. Perhaps many of us are not yet ready to altogether abandon Twitter for App.net, but that is inevitably a decision we will each have to make.
The aesthetic similarity of Netbot to Tweetbot, as I wrote on App.net earlier, serves an important psychological purpose for the end-user. Leveraging a familiar interface, the user is psychologically weened off his or her reliance upon Twitter. For all intents and purposes, beyond certain lacking portions of functionality, Netbot is the future for Tapbots. It's not designed to exist as a complement to Tweetbot and Twitter, it's designed to be viable, familiar, and welcoming alternative.
Lessening the friction for those engaging with App.net is not only a good idea, but also, in many respects, a necessary idea.
Netbot offers a polished and endearing window onto the world of App.net and, with its arrival, there has been an enormous spike in usage. Although it may appear similar to its predecessor, I would argue that such a design decision is fundamentally necessary and purposeful for the continuing migration and learning curve that comes with App.net adoption.
For Tapbots, moreover, Netbot represents the future for the company. Twitter's recent maneuvering, as we all know, has fundamentally endangered the survival of Tweetbot on all platforms. Thus, with the arrival of a Tweetbot equivalent for a newly thriving and affable service, Tapbots has offered a statement of resilience and hope for the future. Given the negativity swirling around Twitter and its impact upon third party developers, I tend to, therefore, regard this release with plenty of optimism. And, concerning the aesthetic similarities, consider Tapbots' design decisions to be prudent, thoughtful, and necessary for the current contextual circumstance surrounding Twitter and App.net.
If you'd like to follow me on App.net, I'm available as @MattAlexander.