11 Social Media Alternatives to Elon Musk’s Twitter

In the weeks since Elon Musk took ownership of Twitter, he launched (and aborted) a poorly conceived and executed plan to sell “verified” blue signs, scaring many of the platform’s advertisers into rethinking their spending and allowed for a blending of earlier elements. banned right accounts back on the service.

It’s been a ride, and we’re just getting started under the Musk regime.

The turmoil made for an entertaining reality show of sorts, but it also prompted millions of users to start thinking about what might come next if Musk tweaks Twitter beyond recognition from its original form. Or, at worst, feeling more viable by the day if Musk simply runs the service into the ground until he’s forced to shut down for good.

As users have flocked to sample the myriad upstart and long-running services that might take their place, one fact has become increasingly clear — there really isn’t a great alternative to Twitter. At least not at the moment. Sure, there are existing services and new services that can fill the social media niche, but most are either way too small or too focused on different goals than what most Twitter users use in the first place.

Either way, the tech landscape (and user base in general) has been caught off guard by how messy Musk’s founding era has been, and it’s giving everyone an idea of ​​where everyone else could land if things go sideways fast. But unlike the slow-then-rapid evolution from something like MySpace to Facebook, the search for a Twitter replacement seems more rushed and dire. Like passengers on an airplane, everyone is looking for a parachute, not simply looking for the next cool thing.

Twitter works because it’s the only place where journalists, celebrities, sports stars and everyone else are on an equal footing to interact. It’s where the news comes in, where the news is made, and where a story can come and go before it really becomes a “news story.” Twitter is exactly where things happen, and it’s incredibly hard to replicate unless all the people who make it interesting are actually There. If everyone splits up in different places, will we ever be able to get that back?

So let’s take a tour of the top options as they stand and discuss why they are (or aren’t) a strong fit right now to take on our favorite little bluebird. To be clear, there are a lot of potentially great services out there, many just need some time to scale – which will likely be dictated by the option (if any) begins to gain a critical mass of Twitter expats in the months next. and years.

In the meantime, get ready to create some accounts and park your hand and username just in case.

Although the masses have mostly only discovered Mastodon in the past month, the open-source social networking service has been around since 2016. It works in ways similar to Twitter, but with a healthy amount of caveats. The best part is that anyone can operate their own server and different servers can connect and communicate through a federated network. Being effectively crowdsourced, that means no ads, so score one for Mastodon.

But as more than a million new users have logged in to check out Mastodon in the past month, its quirks have come to the fore. Users have to select a server to join, which can be a bit confusing for the average user who just wants to interact with others, and moderation rules can vary from server to server, which could also be confusing for users who are not used to a system like this where they might not understand what server they are hosted on. There’s also the issue of reliability, with the system being effectively run by volunteers, there could be reliability and service hiccups if Mastodon grows too big and too fast. It’s an interesting option, but probably a bit too complicated for mass adoption.

Hive is a Twitter-like service started in late 2019 that grew organically until a few weeks ago. Then disgruntled Twitter users began signing up to check out the service in droves, pushing signups past 1 million users. The team running Hive is still in its early stages, and it’s honestly remarkable what they’ve been able to do with such a small team and resources. The service itself feels very much like a sweet spot between Twitter, Instagram, and MySpace (back when MySpace was fun). Users can post their pictures and videos as well as customize their profiles.

It has a lot of potential, but also a lot of growing to do if it wants to viable challenge Twitter. The service is still effectively a start-up, meaning there’s a lot that could go wrong (or right!) as it scales to meet increased demand. That said, it’s definitely one to watch over the next year or two to see how it scales and if the service has the power to attract new users and keep them there.

You know them. You probably have (or have) accounts on them, but are they worth revisiting and trying to use as a Twitter replacement? Your mileage will certainly vary. If you just want great pictures and fun memes, Instagram and Tumblr might be enough to fill the gap for you. Facebook is still easily the largest social media platform in the world, which remains both a blessing and a curse. You’re just as likely to get hit with a friend request from Uncle Larry and your high school bully as you are from the cool people you followed on Twitter. It’s a social media platform, sure, but a very different experience.

TikTok, while not technically an OG, is also positively huge and awesome. But it’s also video-based, which isn’t the typical experience you find on Twitter. The actual social interaction aspect is also different, framed in video comment sections, but if you came to Twitter on Vine and don’t care that much about creating news? TikTok might make sense to consider.

No overview of social media services would be complete without mentioning the right-wing Twitter clones that emerged in the years before Musk bought the service and welcomed back many of the far-right icons that conservatives followed at those alternative services after being fired for things like hate speech and disinformation in recent years.

Look, if you’re interested in joining a service like Parler or Donald Trump’s Truth Social, you’re probably already there. These sites are very similar to Twitter, but were designed to appeal largely to an audience of right-wing celebrities, politicians and voters who felt they weren’t well served on the pre-Musk version of Twitter. So they’re basically right-wing echo chambers with little opinion or news outside of that bubble. But it will be interesting to see if Musk’s takeover of Twitter could weaken these alternative services among right-wing users, as they may now feel more welcome to return to mothership Twitter under Musk. Only time will tell.

This is where it gets interesting. The “next” Twitter may not exist yet, but it could be in the works. There are a handful of exciting new social media projects that could hit the sweet spot, though it’s still incredibly early as most of them are still in invite-only beta right now. Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is working on a new social media project called Bluesky, which aims to be a decentralized social networking protocol (similar in ways to Mastodon, in theory), though presumably easier to connect and use for users. It’s still early days, but Bluesky could eventually be the engine that powers our next favorite social media service.

There’s also Cohost, which aims to follow many of Twitter’s tactics while reverting to the curation and removal algorithms. Cohost also aims to allow users to have digital jars and subscriptions. They seem like a lot of interesting ideas, but it’s still early days to know how it all comes together.

The Post, which is currently available through a waiting list, aims to fill that journalistic and news niche that has made Twitter so addictive. The service allows users to write and share posts of any length, pay for articles from premium news outlets, and aims to create a “civil place to debate ideas.” Sounds like a place where the smarter, smarter side of Twitter could land, so it might be worth getting on the waiting list. Just in case.

Trent Moore is a recovering print journalist, freelance editor and name writer in many places. He likes to find where pop culture intersects with everything else. Follow him @trentlmoore on Twitter.

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