Plus Some Twitter Alternatives
With all the ups and downs over the past year regarding X, formerly known as Twitter, this has many marketers wondering if they should leave the app altogether.
It’s a difficult decision to leave an app and migrate somewhere new. You might be wondering where your audiences are going or even if they are leaving X. You might also be worried about moral issues, such as your posts or ads showing up alongside hate speech, which runs rampant on the platform now.
To leave, or not to leave? That is truly the question. So what is the future of X? Where are the alternatives to the platform? And should you invest in taking your advertising and marketing elsewhere? Let’s dive into some of the more recent updates on X and our takeaways.
The Drama Surrounding X
Even before Elon Musk acquired then Twitter, there was drama over his offer. Musk put an offer on the table, it was accepted, then he tried to withdraw his offer. Not even a month after the purchase was made, Musk then cleaned house, laying off close to 4,000 Twitter employees in a single day. The platform then began experiencing issues, with functions not working properly.
After Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, the platform plummeted in value. Musk had paid $44 billion to purchase Twitter in October of 2022 but by April 2023, the platform was valued at around $14 billion, a third of what Musk paid for it. During the midst of the valuation dropping, there was a significant loss in both advertisers on the platform and advertising revenue. The reasons why varied from Musk becoming CEO to concerns over hate speech.
The first step in rebranding the platform came with the controversy surrounding Twitter Blue and verification, turning it into a subscription model. This meant that anyone could become a verified account, regardless of whether they were actually the person or business they claimed to be. Then later, new features were rolled out only to paying subscribers, including the ability to undo or edit tweets.
More recently, the rebrand to X caused quite a stir. People joked about what you call posting on the platform–is it still tweeting or is it X-ing now? But most importantly, why even rebrand it to X? It was leaked during an employee all-hands meeting that X is meant to replace YouTube, LinkedIn, FaceTime, dating apps, and even your bank.
But even more recently, advertisers left after their ads appeared next to pro-Nazi posts as well as Musk himself retweeting a baseless, antisemitic conspiracy theory. Big names such as Disney, Apple, and IBM all said they were going to stop advertising on the platform.
There have been quite a few new platforms that were started in the attempt to replace X, formerly known as Twitter. Some haven’t really made it, but other platforms are emerging as possible leaders as an alternative. So what alternative platforms are really showing potential? Here are a few that are emerging as good contenders:
- Threads: This is Meta’s version of X. In order to sign up for Threads, you must have an Instagram account, however, this makes it easy to find the people you already follow on Instagram. Threads currently has a very barebones approach. But with Facebook and Instagram’s parent company, Meta, behind it, it could be a long-lasting challenger and probably the most viable one.
- Substack Notes: This platform launched in April of 2023 and has been very warmly received. If you already subscribe to Substack, then the people you follow on Substack Notes will be pre-determined. However, you can always add more. Because Substack subscribers pay to read content on the platform, there is no advertising and no desire for viral posts. This gives the platform a more balanced approach and less doom scrolling.
- CounterSocial: This platform has the most “original” Twitter-like feel, closely resembling TweetDeck. It has protections you may not find on other platforms, such as deep fake detection, identity breach alerts, and Bot Sentinel integrations.
- Spoutible: Speaking of Bot Sentinel, the creator of the popular platform that tracks whether an account is fake or a real person, he has created his own Twitter-esque platform that has been slowly gathering steam. The focus of the platform is to create a safe, inclusive, and enjoyable experience for all users. The platform is seeing signups from journalists, celebrities, and other big names, and has had positive reviews by users.
Key Takeaways: Should You Jump the X Ship?
Now that we’ve taken a look back at the controversies around X, formerly known as Twitter, and we’ve also looked at some of the emerging competitors or alternatives, let’s get into some of our key takeaways.
The first takeaway is that many brands are unhappy with X, including its declining functionality, the problematic platforming of certain individuals/entities, and increasing hate speech. However, there are still many who are unwilling to leave the platform altogether, as they know their key audiences are still using the platform. Many users have said they aren’t leaving the platform because the journalists, creators, and companies they love haven’t left yet, so this seems to have created a cycle of being stuck on X.
The second takeaway is that there still isn’t one clear competitor to X, making it difficult to know where to take your marketing budget if you don’t want to stay on X, or you want to start branching out. There is still one surefire way to reach your audiences that doesn’t require a specific platform, and that is in their email inbox. So we could see an email marketing renaissance of sorts.
The final takeaway is that most who have decided to stay on Twitter have decided to do so without contributing to X’s bottom line. That means avoiding paid campaigns and not paying for verified status.
Staying on Twitter in some capacity or totally jumping ship is up to you and your brand. Try to keep tabs on your target audience. If you find they are leaving the platform, it may be time to take your message to a new platform.