Twitter vs. Pownce

So, back to Nik’s point that Twitter is better because of the API.

Absolutely correct. But when we were standing in line last week for our iPhones Pownce’s lead developer, Leah Culver joined us and we talked at length about where Pownce is going. She said that she’ll expand on Pownce’s feature set, but wasn’t ready to commit to an API yet. Already, though, Pownce is available on Facebook and there’s an Adobe Integrated Runtime version of Pownce, so she is keeping up with some of the kinds of apps that Twitter has seen developed for it.

She has biased Pownce’s feature set toward scalability rather than sheer features or wide-open invitations (you can only use Pownce if you get an invite from someone on it already and those invites are limited based on how able Pownce’s datacenter is to keep up with it). Pownce has been faster than Twitter’s Web page to come up because of this bias.

Its interesting, I see many of the same people in my friends list on Twitter, Jaiku, Facebook, and now Pownce. Pownce is growing faster than the other ones right now, though. 728 people have already added me on Pownce.

I can’t take many more social networks. These are worse than email and that’s just the “are you a friend?” requests.

But, anyway, I still like Twitter the best. Why? No complications. It does only one thing. I find that on my cell phone I go back to Twitter before I go back to any of the others. It’s lightweight.

So, why is Pownce taking off? Better UI. Kevin Rose. Better UI. Kevin Rose. Heheh. Just kidding. But not really too far off. The designer who worked on Pownce is awesome. Love the look of Pownce and little touches like little ads in between messages. I also like that I can send messages just to my friends, or to the public.

Translation: I don’t get how all of these are going to survive. People will tend to go with the one that their friends are on and most of my friends are on Twitter or Facebook.

What do you think? Which one is going to end up being the most popular? If you’re on one of these, what feature would get you to switch? If you aren’t using any of these yet, why not?

Will Leah’s bias of scalability over APIs and features pay off? Or will Twitter’s decisions pay off for it?

UPDATE: Along these lines is this video of Jyri Engestrom, founder of Jaiku, which competes with both Twitter and Pownce.

96 thoughts on “Twitter vs. Pownce

  1. Hi there. I just now came across this article. I am a user of both Twitter and Pownce and don’t think a comparison between the two really works. To me it’s like comparing a window to a door. They are both on a house, but which one is better?

    We created a new site for people who miss Pownce called Schmownce (http://schmownce.com).

    Also, I wrote this article, which I think is a more useful comparison: http://ajitfoldsfive.tumblr.com/post/71266576/what-was-the-deal-with-pownce

  2. Hi there. I just now came across this article. I am a user of both Twitter and Pownce and don’t think a comparison between the two really works. To me it’s like comparing a window to a door. They are both on a house, but which one is better?

    We created a new site for people who miss Pownce called Schmownce (http://schmownce.com).

    Also, I wrote this article, which I think is a more useful comparison: http://ajitfoldsfive.tumblr.com/post/71266576/what-was-the-deal-with-pownce

  3. From a UI perspective, Pownce wins hands down. Keep in mind that it’s a totally immature product and Twitter has been out for a while. Once (I’d guess it’s only a matter of time) Pownce has an open API and SMS support, and the desktop client runs a little more smoothly, I can definitely see it kicking the crap out of Twitter. It’s a much closer race right now, but I think the fact that you can even compare the two this early in the game (for Pownce) is a nod in Pownce’s direction over the long haul.

    It definitely has some issues, though. I blogged about desktop client issues here in case you’re interested:
    http://www.nickbouton.com/archives/2007/07/07/pownce-alpha-client-blowing-up-on-winxp/

  4. From a UI perspective, Pownce wins hands down. Keep in mind that it’s a totally immature product and Twitter has been out for a while. Once (I’d guess it’s only a matter of time) Pownce has an open API and SMS support, and the desktop client runs a little more smoothly, I can definitely see it kicking the crap out of Twitter. It’s a much closer race right now, but I think the fact that you can even compare the two this early in the game (for Pownce) is a nod in Pownce’s direction over the long haul.

    It definitely has some issues, though. I blogged about desktop client issues here in case you’re interested:
    http://www.nickbouton.com/archives/2007/07/07/pownce-alpha-client-blowing-up-on-winxp/

  5. I’m finding a lot of great music on Pownce. I love sharing stuff too, and can filter just links or just files. That reduces the noise a lot. That also reduces my own noise. It’s already been observed that I’m not spammy on Pownce, but that’s probably because Twitter seemed to evolve into slow-motion IRC (with logs)

    I paid 20 bucks to go Pro.

    Should this really be Pownce vs. Tumblr and not Pownce vs. Twitter?

    Here’s how I’m using all the services:
    http://www.ericrice.com/blog/?p=597
    Twitter = chat room; Jaiku = aggregator; Facebook = address book

  6. I’m finding a lot of great music on Pownce. I love sharing stuff too, and can filter just links or just files. That reduces the noise a lot. That also reduces my own noise. It’s already been observed that I’m not spammy on Pownce, but that’s probably because Twitter seemed to evolve into slow-motion IRC (with logs)

    I paid 20 bucks to go Pro.

    Should this really be Pownce vs. Tumblr and not Pownce vs. Twitter?

    Here’s how I’m using all the services:
    http://www.ericrice.com/blog/?p=597
    Twitter = chat room; Jaiku = aggregator; Facebook = address book

  7. If I might add one other point worth making, what is needed is a greater degree of aggregation so that it’s not either/or, but both/and. The internet in its current iteration is X number of digital islands, what a friend of mine refers to as an archipelago. What’s needed, and the Web 3.0 will eventually bring this about, is a pangaea.

    While we wait on the Web 3.0 to arrive, a short-term suitable solution for integrating more of our digital social life might be to route everything through Facebook. Seriously, both Twitter and Pownce have Facebook widgets. I’m not sure about Jaiku, which I’ve never used, but, heck, them too!

    Considering the number of applications merging with Facebook, including things like Zoho’s open office, Box.net’s file sharing, on and on, it’s not inconceivable to think Facebook might become a portal to access all the functions of our digital lives.

    “I just saying.” :-)

  8. If I might add one other point worth making, what is needed is a greater degree of aggregation so that it’s not either/or, but both/and. The internet in its current iteration is X number of digital islands, what a friend of mine refers to as an archipelago. What’s needed, and the Web 3.0 will eventually bring this about, is a pangaea.

    While we wait on the Web 3.0 to arrive, a short-term suitable solution for integrating more of our digital social life might be to route everything through Facebook. Seriously, both Twitter and Pownce have Facebook widgets. I’m not sure about Jaiku, which I’ve never used, but, heck, them too!

    Considering the number of applications merging with Facebook, including things like Zoho’s open office, Box.net’s file sharing, on and on, it’s not inconceivable to think Facebook might become a portal to access all the functions of our digital lives.

    “I just saying.” :-)

  9. I am amused by the media race for ‘most friends’. For a self promoting machine like Scoble and his cronnies, this may mean something… but for those of us in the real world quality is much more important than quantity.

    Social networking is a great mechanism for referrals and as a way to increase the accuracy of information (people like me buying, doing, etc). Running a fan club and leading your own parade is certainly and interesting twist…

  10. I am amused by the media race for ‘most friends’. For a self promoting machine like Scoble and his cronnies, this may mean something… but for those of us in the real world quality is much more important than quantity.

    Social networking is a great mechanism for referrals and as a way to increase the accuracy of information (people like me buying, doing, etc). Running a fan club and leading your own parade is certainly and interesting twist…

  11. One feature that would make me switch is an API interface you can invoke as a regular i.e. non-techie user. See Bravetrail, where members post messages to ‘robots’ which carry out useful tasks on the their behalf.

  12. One feature that would make me switch is an API interface you can invoke as a regular i.e. non-techie user. See Bravetrail, where members post messages to ‘robots’ which carry out useful tasks on the their behalf.

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  14. As my friend Andy Kaufman says, “Twitter and Facebook is the social networking power duo.” I agree. I think, when the smoke clears, Twitter will win the day for its simplicity and API.

    In my book, one strike against Twitter is that it’s design reminds me of MySpace, which I’ve never been fond of. (Pownce looks much nicer and reminds me of Facebook. :->) Yet and still, the fact that its a closed system at this point (including that fact that SMS is not enabled) makes it less useful to me.

  15. As my friend Andy Kaufman says, “Twitter and Facebook is the social networking power duo.” I agree. I think, when the smoke clears, Twitter will win the day for its simplicity and API.

    In my book, one strike against Twitter is that it’s design reminds me of MySpace, which I’ve never been fond of. (Pownce looks much nicer and reminds me of Facebook. :->) Yet and still, the fact that its a closed system at this point (including that fact that SMS is not enabled) makes it less useful to me.

  16. Chris: we’ll have a video of Jaiku up today. Unfortunately it’s not in their offices, but in a hotel room in San Francisco.

    I’ll try to get to the others as well.

  17. Pownce is better than Twitter because:

    Pownce enables you to attach mp3s or other files to your message.

    Pownce has better display of link attached to message.

    Pownce enables you to group your Friends in sets.

    Pownce has accurate “in reply to” to respond directly to a specific message, while Twitter makes an @username reply go only to the most recent message of the person you are replying to, so when you click on the “in reply to”, it may go to the wrong message, and that causes confusion, a dysfunctional linking for the conversation.

    Pownce enables music bands to distribute new mp3s to a community of fans, if they are on Pownce and in your Friends list. That’s the tricky part: building the community to benefit and promote to.

    http://twitter.com/vaspers
    http://pownce.com/vaspers

  18. Chris: we’ll have a video of Jaiku up today. Unfortunately it’s not in their offices, but in a hotel room in San Francisco.

    I’ll try to get to the others as well.

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