The Top 5 Contenders that May be the Answer to the Twitter Exodus Conundrum
Twitter has seen a lot of changes and upheaval since Elon Musk bought the platform in late October of 2022 and that doesn’t appear to be changing any time soon. Many users feel like the platform is the Titanic post-iceberg and have jumped ship for various reasons, from privacy concerns to social-political concerns.
But it’s not just everyday users of the platform that have concerns. Brands on the platform are also concerned about privacy, like messages with customers that contain their private information being prone to hackers, and have taken a hit when it comes to advertising.
A mass exodus creates a challenge for brands. If your target audience is leaving the platform, why pay for advertising or even stay on the platform? And that seems to be the case with many large brands. A study by Media Matters found that “in less than a month, Musk had driven away half of Twitter’s top 100 advertisers.”
So where is everyone going? And what does it mean for the short and long-term? Ideally, brands follow their audience to the online platforms they are using. Let’s take a look at the top five contenders that are alternatives to Twitter where online users appear to be heading.
1 | Counter.Social: Best Overall Alternative for Safety & Civility
Counter.Social has been around for a while now. The platform was created by the world famous pro-American hacktivist, The Jester, who launched his career by fighting terrorism, targeting organizations like the Taliban and ISIS. The Jester launched the platform for his concern over disinformation and trolling. Because of this, Counter.Social is big on moderation and civility. It’s not available in all countries. The platform specifically blocks users from Russia, as well as Ukraine as many Russians attempt to route through Ukrainian servers.
Overall, the platform is a place to have civil discussions and displays posts in chronological order, however, message threading lacks. The desktop interface looks much like TweetDeck and gives you options for displaying messages in columns. However, the platform relies on donations or subscriptions and does not have advertising.
2 | Mastodon: Best Twitter-Like Alternative
For now, it appears that Mastodon is attracting the most people who are dropping Twitter. According to the company, it has grown by over 1 million users since October 27, 2022. Mastodon is an open-source-based social network of small communities that users can join. This comes with advantages and disadvantages.
Out of all the platforms you can currently use, it is the most like Twitter and it has useful tools for migrating from Twitter. However, the interface is on the rough side. The interface and message threading can be difficult. Another pitfall: there is currently no advertising on this platform.
3 | Spoutible: Best Up-And-Coming Alternative
Spoutible is an in-development social platform created by the tech entrepreneur and ingénue, Christopher Bouzy. Bouzy is the Founder and CEO of Bot Sentinel, a Twitter analytics service that tracks disinformation, inauthentic behavior, and targeted harassment. In December of 2022, Bouzy and Bot Sentinel announced that it would be launching a beta version of Spoutible, a Twitter-like social media platform. The platform’s current tagline is “a new experience that feels familiar.” Images of the interface shared by Bouzy so far have appeared to mimic the Twitter appearance by quite a bit.
Currently the platform is in early Beta testing and users had to sign up for access. The platform has a lot of buzz and excitement surrounding it. As of late January 2023, nearly 150k people have already pre-registered for the platform. It promises to be a more inclusive space and to keep users safe from “targeted harassment, threats of violence, racism, anti-semitism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, mis/disinformation and platform manipulation.”
Because it is in Beta testing, we’ll have to see where this platform goes and whether it will eventually have a space for advertising. But it’s definitely one that is worth keeping your eye on.
4 | Diaspora: The Best Privacy Alternative
Diaspora is an open-source-based network of social networks, much like Mastodon is. There are separate pods and each is run by an individual on their own server. Unlike Twitter, there is no central site, organization, or even software. You have to hunt down a diaspora pod that suits you and join it.
Regardless of the pod you are in, there are no algorithms deciding which messages you’ll see. The platform does have a more decidedly Facebook-like feel to it, however, it can be difficult to navigate. And like other alternatives already covered, it has no advertising.
5 | Tumblr: The Best Old-School Alternative
If you want to take an old-school approach as an alternative to Twitter, Tumblr is seeing a resurgence. Tumblr is more image-oriented than Twitter (though posts are not required to have images) and has a more simple interface like many of the other earlier networks, such as MySpace. (Raise your hand if you thought you’d hear the word MySpace uttered in 2023.)
Tumblr supports micro-blogging and looks aside, it can be fun to use. One downside is that it isn’t as conversation-oriented as the other options, but can act as a discussion network in a way. You can reshare other’s posts or begin with your own post. On the upside, unlike other platforms covered here, Tumblr is a commercial business and does have advertising!
Unfortunately, there is no clear consensus on a single alternative to Twitter where you can reach your target audience. Because many of the alternatives don’t have advertising, there is no clear winner for transferring over your Twitter advertising budget either. It may take some more time to find out which platform will be the most popular alternative in the long run. In the short-term, you can at least try out the different platforms and see what kind of traction you get with organic posting.