Twitter is dead. The social network that many of us have come to love over the past 17 years is no longer. It was killed by its new owner Elon Musk and renamed X in what might go down in history as one of the most fateful corporate rebranding.
Many social media managers have been put off by the transformation of the platform into a subscription platform over the past year and by the antics of its new owner. But what are the alternatives?
Threads, the social networking platform launched in July 2023 by Meta has seen explosive growth since as it is integrated with Instagram and counted 124 million users. However, the app is only available in 100 countries and has not been rolled out in the European Union yet. The platform could become a serious competitor to X if it increases engagement and builds more functionalities as it is rather basic for the moment. In any case, it is probably wise to set up a Threads account if you haven’t done so yet.
Mastodon is a crowdfunded social media network which was launched in 2016. The decentralized platform has tripled its users since Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter in November 2022. The 10 million registered users are accessing the network from 10,000 different nodes/servers which makes finding and following other users challenging to say the least. Posts on Mastodon are called “toots” and reposts are called “boosts”. The founder of the platform has vowed to keep Mastodon free, open source and ads-free.
Koo is an Indian social network platform which was released in early 2020 and has grown partly as an alternative to Twitter namely in India, Nigeria, and Brazil. The Bangalore-based network counts 60 million users including official accounts of the governments of Brazil, India, and Nigeria. Its logo is a small yellow bird, and its mission is “to unite the world despite its language barriers”, according to its co-founder Mayank Bidawatka.
Bluesky was born in 2021 as a Twitter spinoff with the aim to build a decentralized social network protocol. The platform, funded in part by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey is still in private beta but has grown to 500,000 users. The platform feels very much like Twitter in the early days. The Bluesky team is often requesting user input as they build the platform but has so far refused to onboard large accounts. (If you need an invite, contact us)
T2 Social is a social network started by two former Twitter employees and launched in late April 2023. The platform, which is still in private beta, has only 14,000 users and is growing as each user can invite their friends. Posts are limited to 280 characters, and you can only post pictures but no videos. (If you need an invite, contact us)
Hive promises to “bring back what you used to love about social media in a new way” with “all friends displayed fairly in chronological order”. The app also profited from the Twitter exodus in late 2022 and made headlines for being run by a three-member team managed by 24-year-old founder Kassandra Raluca Pop.
Spill is the most fun and creative platform, launched in June 2023 by two former black Twitter employees. Users spill the tea and sip the tea from people they follow. The brew on the platform is visual-led with pictures, gifs, or videos and 90-character captions. The platform aims to create a safer and more inclusive space compared to traditional social media platforms and caters specifically to the black and queer community. The app is still invite-only but has garnered several hundred thousand users. (If you need an invite, contact us)
Among established platforms LinkedIn has clearly benefitted from Twitter’s slow decline with more governments and organisations becoming active on the professional social network which is approaching the billion-subscriber mark. TikTok, the hugely popular video-sharing platform now offers text-only posts, but the new feature hasn’t been widely adopted yet.
It is unlikely that any of these new platforms will ever replace X. X is not dead, X has become a subscription platform where users need to pay to play. Despite these changes it remains one of the most influential social networks with 350 million subscribers. X is still used by almost all governments in the world and for many international and multilateral organisations X is still the first social media platform listed on their websites.
However, X is no longer the sole actor in the microblogging space which has become fragmented and compartmentalized. The key challenge for social media managers is to build or rebuild an engaged community on these new platforms. One thing is clear, it is important to set up accounts on these channels to protect your brand name and please add them to the boilerplate on your website.