It’s really hard to run a startup, especially when that fledgling company is trying to prop up a new social network. Sadly for the “kinder and safer” upstart Pebble (formerly T2), the platform operators have decided to shut down.
Gabor Cselle, one of Pebble’s co-founders, offered a rare insight into some of the joys and pains that comes with the territory. Trying to bootstrap a new network from the ground up is no easy task, even in the best of times. Throwing in the towel can feel like a bittersweet development, especially in light of the mistakes and successes that happened along the way.
One of my browser windows still had pebble.is cached, so here is a last screenshot of the site.
There is a silver lining: Pebble.is is gone, but Pebble.social has just recently launched. Gabor has stated, for the time being, that this new Mastodon instance is “just an experiment”, but he appears hopeful that former Pebble community members will sign up there.
The site already has over 260 active users, which is a healthy sign for a relatively young community instance. Some Mastodon users have also suggested building on Elk for the frontend, similar to what Mozilla is doing with Mozilla.social. Should Pebble take that route, they might even be able to recreate their old platform’s look and feel.
We wish the Pebble team the best on this new potential endeavor, and hope that joining the Fediverse helps foster and grow the community they’ve already created.
Update: A user named blobcat is already hard at work in recreating the Pebble frontend design for Mastodon. Right now, it’s just a theme for the Mastodon interface, but there is some hope that maybe, just maybe, the design might become the default on Pebble Social.