Another Twitter exodus has begun.
Since Elon Musk’s first bid for the social network, some users have expressed concern about the direction the site might take under his ownership. A narrow focus on “freedom of speech” that appears to be defined specifically to please his right-wing American supporters, a preference for misinformation and a fundamental refusal to acknowledge the concerns of those with more experience running social networks are ominous.
But the first week of chaos for the billionaire pundit has made the fear clear. Thousands of Twitter employees have been fired and “dozens” have been asked to come back (£) in an ill-considered process as managers realise they are actually vital to helping the site run. Musk has apparently begun to use his personal power in increasingly selfish ways, with fact-checking disappearing from one of his own tweets, Permanently banned users imitate him in protest. Advertisers have begun to scale back spending, creating a serious possibility of a death spiral as the collapse in revenue forces Musk to intervene more and more, leading to a deeper collapse in revenue.
So users are turning elsewhere. But the options menu is confusing and nauseating. Here’s a guide to other offers:
what is it? The flagship service of “fediverse”, a federated social network, runs on a common protocol to ensure compatibility between thousands of different servers, each running an “instance” of the network. It’s to Twitter what email is to messaging apps.
why can i Where is the head? You may find that fediverse is very close to its Twitter counterpart. It’s relatively large, with over a million monthly active users, which means you’re likely to find your niche. It’s familiar, with most of the same basic posting concepts ported over from Twitter wholesale, with a few extras like content warnings that feel well thought out. The joint concept means it can be expanded very large without losing its independent feel. Musk panicked and took a photo of his screen and called it a “masterbatedone” (tweet has since been deleted).
Why can I avoid it? The federation universe is confusing. It may take you a while to understand the concept of following users on different servers, and simply tracking people through a distributed network is difficult. That was before we talked about concepts like federation, where one server bans all users of the other, and the issue of voluntary moderators having absolute power over their own servers. (Warning: don’t assume your DMs are private on Fediverse.) And it’s not entirely clear how the service will scale beyond a certain size. “It’s like email” sounds reassuring until you remember that your email service is almost certainly run by one of the five big companies, and there’s a reason.
what is it? Anti-twitter. A social network built by people who love Twitter’s basic product but explicitly hate the site, the software industry, and pretty much everything about it, except the basic idea of posting.
why can i Where is the head? If the Fediverse, and the whole concept of decentralized social media, goes too far, Cohost offers a simpler proposition: If Twitter is run by good people, they just want to build a cold website? Honestly, the answer is: “It feels like a mix of Twitter and Tumblr, with a user base almost exclusively of software developers”.
Why can I avoid it? The site has slumped in interest, imposing a two-day waiting period before new users are posted. It seems unlikely that it will absorb a fraction of Twitter’s user base, which means it may have to tackle the niche that supports managing households there and become the Ello of Twitter exodus in 2022.
what is it? Chat room service. It’s based on games and started as a way for gamers to coordinate voice chat and talk about the game they’re playing. It has now expanded to encourage anyone to make chat rooms or “servers” for anyone. If you use Slack at work, the easiest thing to do is to treat Discord as Slack for the rest of your life.
Why am I going there? If Discord is right for you, you’re probably already using it. You’re already on several servers – maybe one for fans of your favorite online game, and another for members of a niche hobby you want to hang out with. Instead of leaving Twitter to find a similar alternative, you can… stop tweeting and spend more time on Discord.
Why can I avoid it? Discord is not a social network. It’s more of a tool for making new social networks. While you do have stable identities on different discord servers, pretty much everything happens within those walled gardens. This means you can’t simply “switch to Discord”: you need to actively seek out the community that works for you. And you may never find a server that covers all your interests, so get used to bouncing between servers for a while.
what is it? Come on, you know WhatsApp: the world’s largest messaging app, a Meta subsidiary where people have good things to say, and where you first heard about them making lasagna at Wembley Stadium.
Why am I going there? Look for yourself. Do social networks really need to be public? Of course, the upside is that sometimes an amiable stranger will stick his head out and say something funny, but the downside is that you post something you think is harmless and become the star of the day. So why not bring your best internet friends into a few group chats and post there?
Why can I avoid it? Posting in group chats is great, but posting in group chats is not. It’s like inviting a colleague to your birthday party for the first time: what if your other friends don’t like them? What if they think you’re surprisingly forward? Even if you already have group chats, it’s hard to use them to scale out your network. To that end, public social media is the way forward.
what is it? Well, you’re pulling my leg. You definitely know email. This is an email!
Why am I going there? You may have missed it, but email newsletters are having a renaissance. Even big media outlets are getting in on the action. But you don’t need to sit down and write an article every week to get a newsletter: what if you just…write down all the tweets you’re going to send and email them to people who follow you? Services like Substack, Buttondown, and Ghost make this easy.
Why can I avoid it? The social norm of email is different, although it is possible to send an email that just says,”If the zoo bans me from yelling at animals, I will face God and go backwards to hell,” people may unsubscribe. While clicking to reply and chatting with authors can be fun (try it now!), it’s not the same as a conversation on a public social network.
what is it? Twitter.
Why do I want to stay there? Network effects are real. Twitter, with its 350 million users, will not have a replacement for anyone involved, and probably never will. If the site dies, it dies, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to hasten its demise.
Why can I avoid it? sea top or post.
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