Since Elon Musk became CEO of Twitter and laid off thousands of employees, former Twitter employees and Big Tech competitors have focused on creating Twitter alternatives.
While none can rival Twitter’s audience size of 556 million members yet, they offer those dissatisfied with Twitter’s new policies a fresh start.
Spearheaded by former Twitter employees and other notable names in Big Tech, these emerging microblogging networks offer new platforms for expression without fear of censorship, loss of privacy, and algorithmic control.
Let’s examine the top Twitter alternatives and their features and potential impact.
What Are Some Emerging Twitter Alternatives?
Spill, founded by former Twitter employees, plans to use blockchain technology to compensate content creators on the conversational platform. You can reserve your username now and get notified when it goes live.
T2, also developed by former Twitter employees, offers verification checks to Twitter users with legacy verification. (I hope you captured a screenshot of your profile before the end of the legacy verified program.)
Backed by former Twitter exec Jack Dorsey, Bluesky launched as an invite-only community built on the AT Protocol for large-scale distributed social apps. The Bluesky app has been downloaded over 245,000 times.
Former Twitter employees are not the only ones investing in Twitter competition.
Substack introduced Notes, which allows Substack users to post short-form updates to engage with readers. These updates show in a Twitter-like stream in the Substack app.
Verified checkmarks designate Substack authors with hundreds to tens of thousands of paid subscribers.
How Successful Are Twitter Alternatives?
Mastodon, an open-source, decentralized platform built on ActivityPub, allows users to connect with others without ads or algorithms. According to its statistics page, there are over six million Mastodon users, but only a little over a sixth are active users as of April 2023.
It’s an impressive start for a platform that launched in November 2022.
Several microblogging sites were developed for people who felt their voices were suppressed on Twitter and other major platforms over political viewpoints.
Parler was a favorite of millions of Conservatives. Launched in 2018, it was acquired by Starboard.
The new owners see “tremendous opportunities across multiple sectors to continue to serve marginalized or even outright censored communities – even extending beyond domestic politics.”
Gettr, launched in 2021 to support free speech without political discrimination, has over seven million users in 192 countries.
Are Twitter Alternatives Worth Joining?
If you look at the history of social media, many social networking sites have a lifespan of several years.
Consider Google-owned Orkut (2004 – 2014) and Google+ (2011 – 2019). Both platforms amassed hundreds of millions of users but couldn’t compete with the likes of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
It doesn’t matter what person or organization created the platform. Every social network was new at one point, but not every network was built to last.
If you immerse yourself in a social network early on, you can establish yourself or your business as an authority in an environment with less competition. Even if it doesn’t stand the test of time, you might get some value from being an early adopter.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Are your customers talking about it? If enough customers ask you if you are on a specific social network, you should see why.
- Are your competitors using it? If your competitors have an engaged audience on a specific network, you should look into it.
- Do you have the time for it? If you must sacrifice resources from an established, profitable channel, you should revisit the idea next quarter.
One of the advantages of emerging Twitter competitors: it doesn’t take much to update your status. Unlike platforms that offer profiles, pages, groups, blogs, etc., you can establish yourself on most new networks with one profile and simple text-based updates.
If you want to start dipping your toe into a new microblogging network, here is a simple strategy:
- Group browser bookmarks and app icons for new social networks together.
- Copy the next text-based update you plan to share on Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
- After you share the update, paste it to your profiles on the other microblogging networks.
- Check your notifications and engage with the people who have engaged with your content.
- Engage with updates from those you follow.
As new social platforms continue to surface, it remains to be seen if any will successfully dethrone Twitter.
Still, one thing is sure: the ever-evolving social media landscape is opening up new possibilities for innovation, creativity, and communication, pushing the boundaries of what we can expect from digital interactions in the future.
Featured image: Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock