Dear Dalton Caldwell,
I agree with much of what you say in the App.net [https://join.app.net/
] pitch. I already pay for Pinboard.in, Evernote, Dropbox, Instapaper etc. and am willing to pay for good online platforms. But I won't be supporting your project and I thought you deserved to hear why.
To cut a long story short, $50 a year is too much. Sure, for an American or European with a steady job it isn't too much, but I live and work in Taiwan and large portion of my Facebook friends are in Asia. Some of them are poor Aborigines from the mountains of Taiwan (I teach at a college for Taiwanese Aborigines [http://kerim.oxus.net/]
). Others are from India's Denotified and Nomadic Tribes (DNTs) (I made a documentary film [http://dontbeatmesir.com
] about a DNT community and many of our film's subjects are now on FB). These friends would be blocked from using such a service by the fact that they simply couldn't afford it.
I have absolutely no interest in being part of such an exclusive club no matter how much I agree that social networks shouldn't be ad supported. Have you read about "homophily" in social networks? Please do: http://goo.gl/pqWD
I worry about being on a network full of white male geeks who like open APIs, and you should worry about creating one. Perhaps there are some other funding options that would be more open to those who are unable to pay? Suppose each paying member could invite 100 non-paying members? I'm happy to pay, but not if everyone else is going to have to pay as well.
[I use my G+ account to write about technology. This post is public, but most of my posts go to a closed circle. If you would like to be included, please let me know in the comments.]