I signed up for Twitter in April 2007 – user 763,549 – to be exact.
At this time Twitter was really in it's infancy. I believe that the '@ reply' had just started to be adopted, hashtags were non-existent and retweets were in the style of 'RT' being appended to a copied post. There wasn't an official word for a 'post to Twitter'—nomenclature ranged from 'toot', 'twoot', 'twit', etc. Suffice it to say, Twitter in 2007 is very different to Twitter now.
I used the service a little, but it was very early and I couldn't find too much of a use for it. So I took a break from regular use for about two years. At this point more 'normal' people were signing up for the service – so I had people to directly interact with that I knew in the real world – as well as just people to follow whom I didn't.
I have been a big supporter of Twitter. I have always wanted the company to succeed and have been in the corner for many years now. However, the company has taken a shift. I believe that Jack Dorsey had an idea for Twitter that was pure. He had frequently spoken about it becoming, 'the dial tone for the world' and I think that he saw the service as a back-end API first, money making machine as second.
Jack left Twitter for a while to start Square. Even though he is now back as an executive in the company, Twitter has changed a lot and most likely too much to go back.
Twitter is now a media driven company. They are doing all they can to lock you in to seeing things their way and to drive you to use their first party services. They want to be well prepared to start delivering you advertisements that will sustain their business in the long haul.
They didn't have to chose this path. Many users would happily spend money to use Twitter. They could build apps and tools that are worth paying for. The list goes on and on for what they could (and maybe should) have done, but as we all know Twitter has decided to shaft the 3rd parties that have helped build the service and has decided it would be better off without them.
All of this leaves a real bad taste in my mouth. This was not the service I signed up for, invested so much time with and believed so strongly in. I am totally aware of the argument that I shouldn't feel entitlement over something that's free—I get that. But I feel I can be annoyed/angry/upset about this if I want to and I hope that I'm doing a fair job explaining why.
I don't really know where I go from here. App.net seems like a spiritual successor in some ways. It has the intentions I wish Twitter had and many of the people I follow and interact with on a daily basis have signed up, or are showing tendencies too.
However, there's a problem. Remember that I mentioned the hiatus I took from Twitter? This was due to the fact that not enough of my friends used the service and that may well become the case here too. I have people that I interact with on a daily basis that will not move over because they don't see enough value in the service to pay $50 when Twitter has 'everything they need'.
Times are different for me now and I have many more people that I interact with on a daily basis—just online. But I'm not sure how much of a part this will play in a change of service now.
I don't want to use two services concurrently that ostensibly do the same thing and if everyone stays on both, then why would I switch? Maybe it will take a mass exodus of the people I follow to make me move and then maybe I just have to leave the stragglers behind.
As you can see, I've clearly not got a clear enough picture as to what my future will be with Twitter. I will move if the stars align, but I have to keep looking up to see if they will.