Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter has been nothing short of spectacular. Not in the good way, but since Oct 28 it has been the talk of the town. One scandalous information after the other, the future of Twitter is one of the most engaging sagas in 2022. Ever since Musk’s ‘Comedy is now legal on Twitter’ Tweet, the platform noted a spike of hateful and racist messages, despite their reported success in limiting their visibility, and is plagued by accounts with a blue checkmark that impersonate public figures and companies, all thanks to Twitter Blue. To add these failures to mass lay-offs, changes in company policy, and failure to introduce new features, Musk’s ‘golden touch’ is not looking too real right now.
Musk’s tenure as the leader of Twitter has taken a toll on the number of its most notorious users. Those who left the “Bird App” since the billionaire’s arrival are, among many others: Jim Carrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Gigi Hadid, Moby, Toni Braxton and Stephen Fry. Most of these famous names have just announced their departure, but numerous long time users made it clear that they are leaving for another platform.
The downfall of Twitter opened the door for other services to do what Musk’s new big project cannot. This leads to emergence of new and rise of the not-so-new alternatives for Twitter. Mastodon is treated as one of the most prominent alternatives to Twitter, with numerous organisations and people having their accounts on there. It’s a decentralised, open-source social media platform. Anyone can launch and host their own Mastodon server and create their own community, which can connect to other Mastodon servers. Because it’s open-source, anyone is allowed to use the program’s code or even to modify it, as long as they follow the license rules.
In essence, Mastodon is, as Robert Gehl describes as “a network of very small online communities that band together through both technology and shared social values.” Mastodon can be installed on any computer and host online communities, meaning Mastodon is run mainly by its users.
Hive Social is if a scientist took Instagram and sprinkled in a little bit of Twitter. It rose to fame as an alternative to Instagram, but had to shut down for a few days after “discovery of security issues” in the late days of November 2022. Garnering mixed reviews, Hive Social remains afloat mixing personalised profiles (allowing older folk to relive their MySpace glory days), For You and Trending pages, and many more. Chaos in Twitter’s ranks works in favour of Hive Social, as the app has been (briefly) no. 1 in the App Store catalogue for free social media apps.
Out-Twittering Twitter is a tall task that may seem impossible, but the difference between insanity and genius is measured only by success and failure. Creators of Post News aim to claim the former title. Their goals are available on their site: social media that are fun and inspiring, are aimed at real people, promote trustworthy sources and civil conversation. Although the service is still in development, it faces a great challenge at its very beginning because promises like these are not easy to fulfil. The perspective of “better Twitter” is enticing, as the waitlist for the platform is currently over 180 000 people.
Last, but not least on the list of Twitter alternatives is Farcaster. Closely tied to the metaverse/crypto market, the platform boasts full decentralisation and numerous functions. Self-proclaimed Web3 Social Network, it is made with regular users in mind. The creator of Farcaster points that traditional Web2 social networks like Twitter rely greatly on the quality of content provided by creators. In the words of Dan Romero (Farcaster’s creator): “We did this to build the best of web2 and web3. We want Farcaster to have the usability and speed of a web2 app with the strong ownership guarantees and permissionless innovation of a web3 protocol.”