Everyone describes pownce as "the digg people's answer to twitter." And that's really what it is, a recreation of twitter-pioneered micro-blogging, but with the experience of having watched twitter evolve and scale ... plus with a couple of useful features integrated.
Natch, you post a few quick words about what you're up to and your friends get to see it on their own pownce page. Woohoo.
But then they've added the features that twitterites seem to've invented/popularized on their own. Any post can be designated a "Link" and your post will include a little chicklet to click and visit whatever site you're talking about. Designate a post as a "File" and you'll be able to upload about 10 Mb along with your text, that friends and fans can download with a click.
They've also formalized the twittermob, allowing you to designate your post as an "event." You can then specify a time and place that pertain to whatever you're posting. So in case your friends couldn't figure out what "beers at zeitgeist after work" means, they're now saved from the hobgoblin of ambiguity.
In short, it's a knock-off with a few informal "use cases" integrated as actual "features." So naturally, I hope that twitter catches up or does it differently or gets that magical "first mover" advantage and continues to survive as the "kleenex" of microblogging.
Unfortunately for twitter, pownce has something that twitter just hasn't bothered to build ... a desktop client that is full-featured, unobtrusive, aesthetically pleasing and written in-house. They use Adobe's AIR platform (flash on steroids and rebranded) to make it work on macs and pcs, and it really just works. It pains me to love it, but sheesh, have you ever tried to find a twitter desktop app that wasn't either totally busted or totally ugly? (Pocket Tweets doesn't count, that's hip-top.)
At lunch today, my cow orkers mentioned that Twitter just received a round of funding from some small players, and one of them is Marc Andreessen ... it'd suck for him if pownce turns out to be the Internet Explorer of microblogging.