Going, going, gone! Does it ever feel like just when you get the hang of one social media platform, it falls off the face of the earth and there are two more to learn in its place? We get the feeling. Lately, social channels have been all over the place – especially when it comes to text-based platforms. This article delves into the many changes surrounding text-based social media platforms over the past year, and who seems to end up on top.
Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and other social media platforms have all had their moments, but nobody has received more press over the past year than X (formerly Twitter; you will find the names used interchangeably throughout this article).
Whether or not you have been following the corporate moves that the social media giant has been making, you have probably heard about the name change– or at least noticed the bird icon being replaced with a black and white “X” on your phone.
When Elon Musk finalized his ownership of the social media company in October of 2022, he began to lead the company through a series of shifts, gaining media attention and generating discourse about the purpose of the app.
As the original beloved Twitter brand is slowly (but surely and steadily) removed from the app along with significant changes to the structure and guidelines of Twitter, new players have risen to the challenge of replacing X, preying on what they hope is its eventual demise.
A few noteworthy contenders include: Bluesky Social, Mastodon, and Threads. Let’s dive into them.
- Bluesky Social
While still in the beta testing phase, Bluesky Social originated as a decentralized social media platform created by the ex-CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey. When Twitter was purchased last year, Bluesky separated from the organization and is now a standalone platform. As it grows, users will eventually be able to create their own servers with their own moderation rules. Though you currently need an invite to access the app, it is widely viewed as the most likely long-term replacement for X.
The decentralization of social media is the primary focus of Mastodon, another viable option for replacing Twitter. Mastodon is comprised of several individually operated servers (known as “instances”), each with its own set of content moderation rules. The moderator of the instance is responsible for maintaining these rules, allowing the platform to have much more control over what type of content is allowed to be shared on the app. Twitter is infamous for failing to moderate inappropriate or offensive content, making Mastodon a better option for those worried about finding a platform with friendlier content. In direct contrast to Bluesky Social, they have a simplified sign-up process for new users to join.
Over the past year, changes in Twitter have generated responses across all different spaces. Unsurprisingly, other tech giants were quick to respond. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, launched Threads in July of 2023 – his response to the lack of stability in Twitter’s functionality. It launched as a partner app to Instagram, as users can seamlessly switch between the apps and opt to follow the same people between the two. Being that the accounts are linked, there was an early onset of downloads. Threads currently holds the spot of the fastest app to gain 100 million users. However, there has been a decline in use from its initial launch, raising questions about how possible it is to dethrone X.
Aside from these platforms, options like Discord and Reddit receive an honorable mention for being text-based, but their functionality differs from that of the experience of a typical Twitter user.
Discord offers different servers to its users, allowing them to create text-based conversations and opportunities to share media or even voice/video chat. Servers can be categorized and used for different purposes, but overall Discord is much more comparable to communication platforms like Slack.
Another text-based app, Reddit, is known for allowing users to post threads of questions or discussions surrounding a specific topic. Reddit users can vote on topics, allowing more popular discussions to rise to the top of the page. Contrary to Twitter, the platform is discussion-focused as opposed to the more trendy micro-blogging style of posts found on X.
But X still remains the king
Yet, even with so many contenders for replacement options, X still seems to come out on top. The platform’s longevity gives it a significant boost over newer options, and its global relevance fills an incredibly specific niche in the world of social media. Other platforms can function similarly or offer other options, but until X crosses a line that causes users to truly jump ship, it will be hard to knock the media giant off of its pedestal.
Change is the one thing that is constant across social media platforms. The rise and fall of visual media, new platforms, algorithm shifts, and more have all created measurable change in the ways we use social media – even in just the past five years.
Twitter/X is just one of the many examples of just how fast change can occur in the online world. This happens in order to keep up with shifts in relevancy and helps to fulfill the needs that society has for social media. Conflict often occurs alongside these shifts due to external factors that may drive change, such as monetary gain or pushing specific ideation online.
Need help with social media?
Navigating these changes as an organization can be incredibly difficult. You have to keep up with the algorithms while staying true to your business goals and values without drawing too much effort from other areas of your work. That is where MARQUEE can help.
We know social media, and we want to make it work for you. Not the other way around. Interested in learning how we can work with you to make your organization’s goals work on social media? Contact MARQUEE by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling us at 330.234.9396!