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App.net 'not just a way for nerds to talk to each other', boss tells nerds

Has it finally blossomed into the developer's Twitter?

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The other recent development that may finally distinguish ADN from its better known competitors is the App.net "Broadcasts" feature, introduced late last year. Broadcasts gives anyone the ability to create push-notification lists, for free, via the ADN framework. Using the new release of the standard ADN app, still free, “publishers” can create lists and post subscribe links anywhere they want to – blog posts, Facebook posts, tweets.

Anyone wanting to subscribe to a list simply needs to click on the link and download the ADN app to get push notifications from that point on. List owners can push announcements — which can contain links or objects like animated GIFs — to subscribers of that list using the ADN app, with no use of APIs or other tech fiddling required.

List subscribers only need to download the ADN app once regardless of how many lists they’ve subscribed to. The idea is to allow anyone to easily create broadcast lists (or “channels,” in ADN lingo), something that hasn’t been possible till now for anyone but app developers.

Caldwell seems confident that demand for this feature will help increase ADN’s public profile and revenue. While Broadcasts is free, the plan is to introduce premium statistical and analytical features over time for people and companies that want to build a business on it.

“For those people it will feel cheap to pay for those features,” Caldwell says, and he plans to work with the service’s larger users (including early joiners like Daily Kos, Wired, the New Yorker, AllThingsD, The Guardian, Engadget and the Paris Review) to determine what kinds of statistics they want to see. Meanwhile, smaller-scale bands, podcasters, stand-up comedians and web merchants will have free and easy access to push-notification capabilities for broadcasting announcements, MP3s, or anything else they want to.

All of this could be welcome news to Twitter addicts who are worried that their Prague Spring may finally be coming to an end, but aren’t ready to trade it for ADN’s relatively tiny, insular, and still geek-heavy community.

App.net Broadcasts, together with a potential flight from a new, ad-heavy Twitter, could finally add the numbers and diversity that have frankly been missing on ADN to date. And based on his research with the service’s initial base of media publishers, Caldwell seems certain that Broadcasts will attract a wide variety of users. “It’s not just a way for nerds to talk to each other,” he says. ®

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