What the Tech: Twitter Alternatives

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Over a million people have deactivated their Twitter accounts in the days following Elon Musk’s taking over as CEO.

Musk has fired many Twitter staffers and announced it will now cost $8/month for users who want the blue checkmark that verifies that person is who they say they are. What’s more, Yahoo reports tweets using the “N-Word” jumped 500% immediately following Musk taking over the giant social media platform.

Where will those Twitter users go? Before you think it’ll be “Facebook”, you should know of a few other micro-blogging platforms that are already seeing a jump in new accounts and users.

The platform Mastodon has benefited most from the Twitter drama. More than a million people have created Mastodon accounts and about half of those were made in the past week. On Mastodon, tweets are called “toots” and “re-tweets” are called “boosts”.

New users complain it’s hard to understand how Mastodon works and it is confusing when you start to create an account. Users are first required to choose a server where their account is hosted. Each server has its own terms, privacy options, and content policies. Some servers are set up for gamers, tech enthusiasts, metal music fans, and other servers for specific regions of the world.

Since you’re starting from scratch finding people to follow on Mastodon will take some time. Tooting isn’t challenging though and there’s a 500-character limit.

Tumblr is still very much active with over 500 million blogs on its site and millions of people who use it to post pictures, videos, and blog entries. It looks more like a blog than Twitter with long-form posts and videos. It’s very cool looking and I wonder why it never quite captured the attention of social media creators like Twitter managed to do. You may already have a Tumblr account you stopped using. I was a little surprised mine is still there. My last post was in 2013.

There’s also Parler which drew a lot of new users when former President Trump was banned from Twitter. It’s mostly right-wing political posts right now. That could change if others start hanging out here.

If you do plan to leave the Twittersphere, be aware if you de-activate your account, you’ll have thirty days to change your mind or reactivate it. If you don’t reactivate in that time (30 days) your username will become available to anyone wanting to use it.