App.net, the microblogging service launched as a paid-subscriber alternative to ad-supported systems like Facebook and Twitter, has decided to close its doors and release its software as open source.
In a blog post, App.net cited diminishing revenue—a lack of subscribers—as the reason for the shutdown. Users have until March 14 to export their data, and at some point (it hasn’t been specified when) all of the code underlying App.net will be released as open source.
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This isn’t Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, but unless these networks figure out how to monetize themselves, (not only paying their bills but profiting), it’s only a matter of time before they shut down as well. One more reason to own your content, and indiewebify yourself, and it doesn’t matter to me whether or not you use WordPress to do it. It’s not the only option, although I think it’s the easiest way for people who aren’t necessarily interested in all the technical aspects of the web to get up and running. But I don’t care if you use WordPress or not. This isn’t about me trying to get you to use my favorite platform. If you’re creating content, (and you are if you’re posting to social media, or Sound Cloud, or Audioboom or whatever), you should own that content. It doesn’t matter if it’s something you think people will come and consume. What matters is that you thought it was worth creating, and no one else should be able to own that content or profit from it. You should own that content, and as long as you’re posting it to social media or similar services, you don’t. It belongs to them and they can do whatever they want with it, including make it disappear when they can’t monetize it. So start taking ownership of the content you’ve already created, and don’t continue to feed the services you’re using without making sure you have at least a backup copy of what you’re feeding them.