Twitter has been a bit of a mess since billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk took the helm, halving the company’s workforce, upending the platform’s verification system, clashing with users about jokes and acknowledging that “stupid things” might happen as he reshapes one of the world’s most prominent news ecosystems.
On Thursday, amid an exodus of senior executives responsible for data privacy, cybersecurity and regulatory compliance, he warned the company’s remaining employees that Twitter might not survive if it didn’t find the way to earn at least half of its income from subscriptions.
While it’s unclear if the drama is leaving many users behind – in fact, having a front row seat to the chaos may prove entertaining for some – lesser-known sites Mastodon and even Tumblr are emerging as new alternatives ( or renewed). Here is an overview of some of them.
(Oh, and if you leave Twitter and want to keep your tweet history, you can download it by going to your profile settings and clicking “your account” and then “download an archive of your data.”)
Named after an extinct elephant-like mammal, Mastodon has become a favorite among those curious about life beyond the bluebird. It shares some similarities with Twitter, but there are big differences – not just that its version of tweets is officially called “toots”.
Mastodon is a decentralized social network. This means that it is not owned by a single company or a billionaire. Rather, it is made up of a network of servers, each operating independently but able to connect so that people on different servers can communicate. There is no advertising as Mastodon is funded through donations, grants, and other means.
Mastodon’s feed is chronological, unlike Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter, which all use algorithms to get people to spend as much time as possible on a site.
It can be a bit daunting trying to sign up for Mastodon. Since each server is run separately, you will first need to choose one you want to join, then follow the steps to create an account and agree to the server rules. There are general ones and areas of interest and location, but in the end it won’t really matter. Once you’re there, the feed is reminiscent of Twitter. You can write (up to 500 characters), post photos or videos, and follow accounts as well as view a mainstream feed.
“We present a vision of social media that cannot be bought and owned by any billionaire, and strive to create a more resilient global platform without profit incentives,” Mastodon’s website says.
Currently, the site has more than one million users, nearly half of whom signed up after Musk took over Twitter on October 27, according to founder Eugen Rochko.
Another option, Counter Social, also runs a user-funded ad-free chronological social platform. To prevent foreign influence operations, Counter Social says it blocks access to Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, and Syria. It boasts of offering one-click translation in over 80 languages. It has over 63 million monthly users, according to its website.
Remember the Clubhouse, when we were all confined and couldn’t talk in person? It’s the buzzy audio-only app that’s been somewhat overshadowed by the copycat Twitter Spaces, which also let people talk to each other (think a conference call, podcast, or “audio chat”) on topics of interest. interest.
Once you’ve signed up, Clubhouse lets you start or listen to conversations on a host of topics, from technology to pro sports, parenting, black literature, and more. There are no messages, photos or videos – only people’s profile pictures and their voices. Conversations can be intimate, like a phone call, or can include thousands of people listening to a lecture by names in bold, like a lecture or an onstage interview.
SUB-STACK and MIDDLE
For longer reads, newsletters, and general information absorption, these sites are perhaps closest to the blogging era of the early 2000s. You can read both without signing up or paying, but some writers, creators, and podcasters create premium content for paid subscribers.
Tumblr, which was practically left for dead, seems to be enjoying some resurgence. The words/photos/art/video site is known for its dedicated fanbase and has welcomed angry posts from celebrities like Taylor Swift. It angered many users in 2018 when it banned pornography and “adult content”, which made up much of its highly visual and user-friendly online presence and led to a sharp drop in its user base. users.
Integration is straightforward, and for those who miss the early years of social media, there’s a decidedly retro and heartwarming feel to the site.
T2 or to be determined?
Gabor Cselle, a Google veteran who worked at Twitter from 2014 to 2016, is determined to create a better Twitter. For now, he calls it T2 and says the web domain name he bought for it – t2.social – costs $7.16. T2, which may or may not be its final name, is currently accepting signups for its waitlist, but the site clearly isn’t working yet.
“I think Twitter has always struggled with what to do and how to decide what to do. And that was always kind of on my mind,” Cselle told The Associated Press. go. I haven’t seen anyone else actually do it.
Twitter-style text and TikTok-style videos are an idea. Cselle says that for this to work, the text really needs to be “amplified” so it doesn’t get drowned out by the videos.
“I bet it will be easier and more effective to build a better Twitter or a public square now than to fix legacy Twitter issues,” Cselle added.
Cselle, of course, isn’t the only one jumping at the chance. Project Mushroom, for example, plans a “safe place on the internet – a community-driven open-source home for creators seeking justice on an overheated planet” and claims to have received an initial 25,000 sign-ups to its platform which n has not yet been launched.
“My feeling is that things are going to fragment more into more ideological platforms and some will die, and then we’ll see further consolidation emerge over the next couple of years,” said Syracuse University professor Jennifer Stromer-Galley. who studies social media.
One of Twitter’s most valuable features is how it lets people find information in seconds. Was it just an earthquake? Twitter will tell you. Or at least he did.
While there’s no perfect replacement for Twitter, staying up to date with local, national and international news is easier than ever. Apple and Google both offer news services that aggregate articles from a wide range of publications (Apple offers a premium subscription service that gives you access to more articles, while Google displays articles first free.) There’s also Flipboard, which works much like a personal account. magazine organized according to your interests.
Of course, subscribing to individual publications (or downloading a free news app like the AP’s AP News) is also an option.
Yes, you may have to pay for some of them and no, you won’t get a blue tick with your subscription.
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