The Great Migration to Twitter: This Platform Will Be the Next (Best) Twitter
Mentioned several times in the comments section. There is another possible alternative in the works that I haven’t mentioned: Spoutible
It is run by Christopher Posey, creator of the Bot Sentinel, has the artistic talent.
I expect it to be a copy of Twitter, but with better moderation. My discretion would be to put it in the “these also exist” category. However, once it launches early next year, who knows. It might blow us all away and get a lot of early adoption. You’ve already got 100k users on the waiting list.
As Elon Musk continues to slide towards narcissism, QAnon, and White Supremacy, people and brands continue to slide down the platform. The problem is that there is no single clear alternative to migrate to. With Musk now randomly banning journalists he doesn’t like, it’s time to take a look at the latest from the Who Wants to Be the Next Twitter contest.
Before covering the sites, it is important to understand what Twitter is. Twitter was where I went to see ‘what’s going on in the world and the communities I care about?’ Showcasing my “BookTwitter”, “BlackTwitter” and “CatsOfTwitter” are just a few examples. I’m sure you might have your own description of the niche Twitter that’s filled in, but that’s the criterion I use to judge it.And I think it’s a pretty good description of how most people use Twitter.
With that said, here are the contestants.
The contestants I support for the long haul
I hope these sites will improve and eventually replace Twitter. However, I don’t think they are ready yet.
Mastodon, at first, seemed like the obvious alternative… until quite a few people tried using it, that is. I like the mastodon idea because of its decentralized nature. However, I think the platform and protocol may need to continue to evolve before mass adoption.
If everyone you want to talk to is on the same server, the platform is great. If you want to like someone or replay them on another server, be prepared for some ‘steps’. And if you want to know what other servers or the community in general is talking about, you’ll have to click here because the trend is “per server”.
I will be watching Mastodon long term. I’m willing to bet with some time and usability improvements, it really could be the future. There is nothing “wrong” or “missing” that can’t be fixed in the end.
From one of the founders of Wikipedia comes a social networking site. The user interface is a bit lackluster, but it was definitely going for a new approach. I would encourage you to try.
I like the idea of multiple editors for a post. It will be interesting to see what people will do with it if it becomes popular.
If the user interface gets a major makeover, gets a more streamlined design, and the whole site is faster, it can compete better to be the Twitter alternative. Honestly, those might be the only things keeping her from picking up steam. I will keep an eye on that.
the sky is blue
Blue sky isn’t fully there yet. It is in closed beta. It’s Jack Dorsey (yes, the original founder of Twitter) trying to take the mastodon idea of decentralized Twitter and make it even better. He has already created a non-profit foundation for the protocol they are developing. The advantage they have over Mastodon is that they can see Mastodon’s unexpected problems and not own it from the start as Mastodon has to slowly change things since their network is already finished.
I may be doing this because Jack has publicly regretted what Twitter has become. And it would be really funny if he took Elon’s money and then created the thing that would replace Twitter.
Existing large sites
Some existing sites are experiencing some renaissance. There is always the possibility that there will never be a “new” Twitter. Instead, users will return to other existing social media sites. I wouldn’t bet on any of those, but they deserve a mention.
The big winner here is Tumblr. Tumblr has seen a significant rise in usage. While Tumblr is like the OG in the blogosphere, a lot has changed. Even its homepage looks more than Twitterish. It also has a trending page.
The thing is, Tumblr already has a user culture. One that is not inclined towards general news. It is used more by the masses. It can create some conflict on the site. On the other hand, news sites and journalists who take themselves too seriously may not feel the atmosphere of the site. Tumblr can be pretty cheeky
(Yes, this is from the current site)
Another contender might be the next Substack. Substack users actually used Twitter as advertising for their sub-blog, so it would make sense. However, Substack is not a social media site by any means. And it certainly does not contain any short or concise features. Not to mention, it’s built around long content creation, not short streams of ideas or comments.
Medium I feel like I’m doing a Twitter play. While Medium has traditionally worked on long-form posts, its comments work like Twitter (every comment and reply is just another post). And just like Tumblr, their homepage got a little more likes than Twitter. I wouldn’t count on it though, Medium was designed to be a blogging platform built around a paywall subscription. It is not appropriate to be a popular news site.
These also exist
If you use and enjoy these sites, great. But I find them all frustrating and unlikely to grow quickly and do Twitter better than Twitter. If you don’t agree, tell me in the comments.
Tribel is a site that has created something that merges Facebook and Twitter. You have “friends” and “followers”. Although there has been a slight increase in users, I don’t expect this to take off. It’s a small team and I don’t see how they won’t have quite the same issues as everyone else. If we’re talking about leaving Facebook, I might think about it more. But we are talking about Twitter.
Hive is just another version of Twitter, except for the only app, (there is no web interface). It is currently run by like 3 people. When I used it, I was inundated with porn that I didn’t ask for. I’ll tell you more, but it’s not working right now. If they suddenly get funding and content oversight, I’ll take a second look.
this is interesting. I kind of like the vibe of this place. It was originally a Mastodon server, but the person running it has decompiled the code and is now doing their own thing. The user interface is rather ugly and everything is managed by one person. It’s a great place to check out, but it won’t be a replacement for Twitter that supports tens of millions of users.
The contestant I’m rooting for (for now)
The site that I am sure will become the next Twitter
Post.News is similar to Twitter in most respects.
- you have a feed. In fact, you have 2 feeds. A feed of “only those you follow” (and only those you follow. No slipping into the extra “suggested for you”) and a “discovery/algorithm feed” that you can easily switch between. Like actually switching with one click. You don’t have to go to Settings. You are encouraged to use both.
- You have a profile page just like on Twitter.
- You have lists of people you follow and who follow you back.
- You have a username @
- You have tags and search
- More jobs to come
The difference is that they plan to encourage civility from the start. They won’t go through the whole freedom of speech learning curve like any other damn platform, including Twitter and Elon Twitter 2.0. There are some technical differences. I think it’s the “pluses”, but I’ll let you decide for yourself.
- First, you have the option to comment on a “post” and your comment is not treated as a normal post. This is in addition to the option to reply or “RePost” just like Twitter.
- Second, you have no character limits and can format your text. You might think this makes it more of a blogging platform, but instead it just gives you options. When you look at the posts feed, it just shows you the beginning of the Post and gives you Read More if it’s too long.
Post.News was co-founded by Noam Bardeen who was CEO of Waze for 12 years. So leadership is not just ‘some guy’. It’s someone who knows what they’re doing. They’ve also secured Venture Capital funding so they’re growing fast.
Moreover, they are planning an alternative financing mechanism instead of (or perhaps in addition to) advertising. They have fast-tracked news organizations to the platform. They want to experiment with microtransactions for people to pay for individual news articles. So far, no less than Reuters, NBC News, Rolling Stone, Propublica, and more have already joined the platform. Most still only link to their websites for news stories, but others, like Reuters, are experimenting. In addition, dozens (maybe 100s at this point) of individual journalists have already joined the site and are using it as they have used Twitter.
Two things you should know. Post.News is still in beta and has a waiting list. If you want to leave Twitter, I recommend that you sign up for the waiting list now. It will take a few weeks before entry. However, they launched early as the platform continues to build to take advantage of Twitter’s chaos. They are adding more features every week and working on the thousands of users they log in each day (about 10k users per day).
The last thing to mention is a link to a bad guy. The company that acquired Venture Capital for Post.News is “a16z” which was co-founded by notorious misogynist, Marc Andreessen. Noam addressed that by saying that a16z were the only ones willing to get them quick financing, Noam still has a controlling stake in the company, and a16z is a passive investor this time around. While this may not contaminate the entire platform, it is not something that should be ignored. A16z was an activist investor and screwed up another social network by ignoring security and exposing Andreessen as just another tech.
I really believe Post.News is going to replace Twitter as the place where journalists, activists, and everyone else talks about the last thing. The post, so far, is doing everything right. However, it is still just another tech company. Some crazy billionaire may destroy the platform in 10 or 15 years, and we’ll be right back where we started. That’s why I’m rooting for Post.News in the short (and maybe medium) term. In the long term, I hope that something like Mastodon, Blue Sky, or WT Social can slowly grow into something for the masses and we no longer have to worry about any individual, company, or country being able to single-handedly destroy online communities.
For now, I encourage you to check it out and get your username. You can find me there DustinMi. But I shouldn’t be your first follower. This must be Seth Abramson (@citapramson). He’s a great journalist and has become a true hero of the site and has tips for beginners and to-do lists.
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