Home USA News Too much Twitter drama? Mastodon, others arise as variants

Too much Twitter drama? Mastodon, others arise as variants


Twitter has been in a bit of turmoil since billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk took over, cutting the company’s workforce in half, changing the platform’s verification system, arguing with users over jokes and admitting that “stupid things” can happen. as it reshapes one of the world’s most storied information ecosystems.

On Thursday, amid an exodus of top executives responsible for data privacy, cybersecurity and compliance, he warned the rest of the company that Twitter may not survive unless it can find a way to generate at least half of its revenue from subscriptions.

While it’s unclear if the drama is causing many users to leave — in fact, being in the front row of the chaos might be fun for some — lesser-known sites Mastodon and even Tumblr are new (or updated) alternatives. Here’s a look at 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 your data archive.”)


Named after an extinct elephant-like mammal, the Mastodon has become a leader among those interested in life beyond the blue bird. It shares some similarities with Twitter, but there are some big differences — and not just that its version of tweets is officially called “toots.”

Mastodon is a decentralized social network. This means it is not owned by a single company or billionaire. Rather, it consists 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 by donations, grants and other means.

Mastodon’s feed is chronological, unlike Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or Twitter, which use algorithms to force people to spend as much time on the site as possible.

Trying to sign up for Mastodon can be a bit daunting. Since each server operates separately, you will need to first select the one you want to join, then follow all the steps to create an account and agree to the server’s rules. There are general ones, based on interests and location, but in the end it won’t matter much. As soon as you log in, the feed resembles Twitter. You can write (up to 500 characters), post photos or videos, subscribe to accounts, and see the public feed.

“We present a vision of a social network that cannot be bought and owned by any billionaire, and we strive to create a more sustainable global platform without the incentive of profit,” Mastodon’s website says.

The site currently has more than 1 million users, nearly half of whom signed up after Musk took over Twitter on Oct. 27, according to founder Yevhen Rochko.

Another option, Counter Social, also operates a chronological, user-funded ad-free 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. According to the website, it has more than 63 million monthly users.


Remember the Clubhouse when we were all on lockdown and couldn’t talk in person? It’s a loud audio-only app that’s been slightly overshadowed by the Twitter Spaces copycat, which also lets people talk to each other (think conference call, podcast, or “audio chat”) about interesting topics.

Once you join, Clubhouse will allow you to start or listen to conversations on a variety of topics, from technology to professional sports, parenting, black literature, and more. There are no messages, photos, or videos — just people’s profile pictures and their voices. Conversations can be intimate, like a phone call, or they can involve thousands of people listening to a speech in bold, like a conference or stage interview.


For longer reads, newsletters, and general information absorption, these sites are perhaps the closest thing to the blog era of the early 2000s. You can read both without subscribing or paying, but some writers, creators and podcasters create premium content for paid subscribers.


Tumblr, which was almost left for dead, seems to be experiencing something of a revival. The word/photo/art/video site is known for its loyal following and is home to angry posts from celebrities like Taylor Swift. This angered many users in 2018 when it banned the porn and “adult content” that made up a large part of its highly visual and meme-friendly online presence, leading to a significant drop in its user base.

Logging in is easy, and for those who miss the early years of social media, the site has a decidedly retro, comforting feel.

T2 or TBD?

Gabor Chelle, a Google veteran who worked at Twitter from 2014 to 2016, is determined to build a better Twitter. For now, he calls it T2 and says the web domain name he purchased for it — t2.social — cost $7.16. T2, which may or may not be its final name, is currently accepting entries for its waiting list, but the site is clearly down yet.

“I think Twitter has always had trouble figuring out what to do and how to decide what to do. And it was always in the back of my mind, – Sele told the Associated Press. “On Monday I decided to just go. I haven’t seen anyone else really do that.”

Twitter-style text and TikTok-style video are one idea. For this to work, Xelle says the text really needs to be “amplified” so it doesn’t drown out the video.

“I bet it would be easier and more efficient to build a better Twitter or a public square now than to fix legacy Twitter issues,” Xelle added.

Chessel isn’t the only one who jumped at the chance, of course. The Mushroom Project, for example, plans to create “a safe online space—a community-driven, open-source home for creators seeking justice on an overheated planet”—and says it has received the first 25,000 signups for its yet-to-be-launched platform.

“My sense is that things will continue to fragment into more ideological platforms, and some of them will die, and then we’ll see some new consolidation emerge over the next few years,” said Jennifer Stromer-Galey, a professor at Syracuse University. which studies social networks.


One of the most valuable features of Twitter has been that it allows people to find information in seconds. Was it just an earthquake? Twitter will tell you. Or at least it was.

While there’s no perfect replacement for Twitter, keeping up with local, national and international news is easier than ever.

Apple and Google 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 shows free stories first.) There’s also Flipboard, which works like a personal magazine, prepared according to your interests.

Of course, subscribing to individual publications (or downloading free news apps like AP News AP) 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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