The Next Twitter

The Twitter disaster continues. Two weeks ago hundreds of employees quit Twitter’s offices. Famous figures like Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes are quitting Twitter too. After the subscription option for a blue check, fake accounts have been posting harmful tweets, some costing companies millions of dollars. For example, a fake Eli Lilly account ‘announced’ insulin shots were now free of cost. After this, the companies stock decreased with 5%, which cost the company 15 billion dollars.

By now the possibility to buy blue ticks is no longer there. But the damage remains. The trust users had in Twitter has been violated.

Twitter alternatives

People are on the outlook for other social media platforms to satisfy the Twitter needs. On the same day that Elon Musk took over Twitter, 70.000 new users have signed up to Mastodon, a platform that has been launched in 2016 and has been rising in popularity lately. It is not owned by one company and has multiple servers that are governed separately. When first reading about its ‘toots’ (posts) and ‘boosts’ (reposts) I was sceptical to say the least. But as I kept informing myself on the platform it didn’t sound so bad after all.

Mastodon is pretty similar to Twitter. You can follow people, react to posts, private message. The timeline is fairly similar and the kinds of posts are neither text nor media dominant. Mastodon has three timelines: one where you only see posts from people you follow, a local timeline, and a global one where you see posts of all users.

Single-column-layout of Mastodon

The issue is.. it’s not as populated as Twitter or other popular platforms. So is there a better option? Some popular platforms considered were Discord, Reddit, LinkedIn and Tumblr. (sources: 1, 2)

Discord allows to network through servers. But it does not have a public timeline like Twitter does which makes it quite different. Besides, Discord was first mainly used for communication while gaming. This reputation might be a setback for the amount of people that could potentially join the platform.

Reddit consists of different subreddits and has different tabs, or timelines. The issue with this platform is that it has a culture and reputation that is rather specific and might not appeal to all. Especially those looking for more formal settings.

LinkedIn is a networking site that is more popular for professional settings. Twitter is known for wider uses, so this alternative would either works for just networking or would totally change the landscape of LinkedIn.

Tumblr could be described as microblogging. There are different types of posts available, but it is often more media focussed than Twitter. Tumblr’s culture and reputation can also be described as quite specific. It is known as being the home of sad teens, fanbases, aesthetics and alterative communities.

Some other alternatives for Twitter would be Clubhouse, which is an audio-only forum platform, or CounterSocial, which offers news and possibility for networking.

The problem with the popular alternatives is that they’re all quite niche. They’re either too formal or informal or either too text or media based. They’ve been around for some time and have developed their own cultures. And Twitter is just something in the middle, a platform where you to some extent curate your experience. So when comparing the above mentioned platforms, Mastodon sounds like the most similar to Twitter. But this doesn’t mean anything if people don’t move to this new platform. The way it can be used might be similar but if the community isn’t there you just won’t have the same experience and benefits as from Twitter, whether you’re a regular user or a company. The popular platforms have been around for years and had time to gain traction and build their community. No social media platform is like the other.