Elon Musk has reached an agreement to buy Twitter on Monday. The CEO of Tesla and the richest man in the world assures that he has not done it for money or influence, but to improve the platform. Despite this, the tycoon’s operation has generated some controversy among hundreds of users who wonder if they want to continue adding to the millionaire figures of the social network. There are those who have not been slow to knock on the door of other platforms such as Mastodon, Plurk or Reddit.
“Mastodon is not a single website like Twitter or Facebook, it is a network of thousands of communities operated by different organizations and individuals that provide a seamless experience on social networks,” say its creators. This decentralized and open source application, created in 2016, is available both in the Play Store like in the app store.
Users are grouped in communities or “instances” with multiple themes: related to technology, games, activism or art. After downloading the application, it is possible to choose which one to be part of. In each of them, it is indicated how many people make it up and in what language they speak. There is also a website from which it is possible to search for communities based on the language, the number of users —less than 100, less than 500, less than 1,000 or less than 10,000— or some settings related to moderation.
Once you are inside a community, the operation and interface of the apps they are quite similar to Twitter. For example, it is possible to follow other users, read their posts in chronological order, share them or mark them as favorites. Among the main differences, they highlight that the messages in Mastodon can have up to 500 characters —compared to 280 on Twitter— and users can choose who sees their publications: the whole world, only their followers or the people mentioned. In addition, the creators of the platform they presume that there is no advertising in it.
In Mastodon there are some basic rules to avoid racist, xenophobic or transphobic messages. But, unlike what happens on Twitter, each community can also establish its own rules. “Thanks to the expansion of the network and its independent nature, there are more moderators that you can go to for help, as well as communities or servers with strict rules of conduct,” say the creators.
Today, the social network has 4.4 million accounts. In the last few hours, some Twitter users have migrated to this platform. “Hello. I’m a new Twitter refugee here and I’m looking for people to follow”, said an Internet user. “There are already two of us,” answered another. It would not be the first time that a user leak to Mastodon has occurred. Some already left when Twitter implemented an algorithm-based timeline that made the app similar to Facebook, according to the portal specialized in technology TheVerge.
One of the most similar social networks to Twitter is Plurk. It can be downloaded both in Play Store like in the app store and it is, in the words of its creators, “an incredible site where you can show the events that make up your life and follow the events of the people you care about”. Signing up only takes a few seconds. Simply enter a username, email, date of birth and a password.
In Plurk it is also possible to post messages —of up to 360 characters—, ‘retweet’ them, like them or reply to them. The main difference with Twitter is the way posts are viewed. If on the blue bird platform you have to do scroll of bottom to top to read multiple tweets, in Plurk the timeline scrolls from left to right. Messages are arranged in chronological order—newest on the left, oldest on the right. In this way, if several people post a message at the same time, it is possible to see one under another at the same time.
By posting a plurk (the equivalent of a tweet) it is possible to choose if you want anyone to be able to read it, only your friends or only you. You can also choose who can answer, if replukable (retweetable) and if it is content “only for adults” —for people over 18 years old—. The social network encourages putting this label on sexual texts or images or with naked people and those that involve drug abuse or gambling. In addition, up to five anonymous messages per day can also be posted.
This social network is especially successful in Taiwan, according to SimilarWeb firm. The main disadvantage of Plurk is that there is no way to filter the posts by language to find, for example, messages in Spanish. In the tests carried out by this newspaper, when entering the platform, multiple messages have appeared in Chinese. Despite this, behind Musk’s moves, there are some users who have started experimenting with the social network. Hi Plurk! I am putting you to the test in case I need to migrate away from Twitter, ”said an Internet user on Monday. “Who cares that Elon Musk buys Twitter if we can still use this website? Too bad you can’t change the language settings, but hey, you can’t always win,” said another.
The former president of the United States, Donald Trump, continues to be blocked from Twitter for the inflammatory messages he published in January 2021 during the assault on the Capitol. Now that Musk has taken control of Twitter, one of the questions is whether he will reactivate Trump’s account. But, for now, the situation has led the former president to promote his own social network: Truth Social.
The platform is only available to users in the United States in the app store. At its premiere, in February 2022, it became the most downloaded application in the Apple store in the country and even had a waiting list. The goal of Truth Social, according to Trump, is to “create a rival progressive media consortium and fight Silicon Valley big tech, which has used its unilateral power to oppose voices in America.” Its creators assure that it “encourages an open, free and honest global conversation without discriminating political ideology”.
Its design and operation is very similar to Twitter. Users can post comments with images or videos, share them and interact with each other. Also send private messages with other people. However, some American technology journalists believe that Truth Social is “a failure”. While Business Insider defines it as “a conservative ghost town overrun by bot” and with little original content, for Forbes seems to be an app designed to promote a future Trump campaign.
Another alternative to Twitter would be Reddit, a platform that was born in 2005 and currently has over 50 million unique daily active users. Upon entering the platform, available in the Play Store Y in the App Store, the user can choose which topics interest him: beauty, art and design or food or science, among others. By clicking on each of them, more subtopics appear. For example, if technology is chosen, the options show Apple, PC, Elon Musk, or Google. The platform takes this information into account to suggest to the user some communities related to their tastes.
Whether you’re interested in breaking news, sports, TV fan theories, or an endless stream of the internet’s cutest animals, there’s a community on Reddit for you. say its creators. On the main page, the apps displays a board with posts from the communities you follow that is quite reminiscent of Facebook. Between informative content, memes and curiosities sneak in. The moderators of each community can approve, withdraw or mark as spam every post and comment.
One of the main attractions of this platform is that supposedly the users have greater power than in other networks in which algorithms play a more decisive role. In fact, it is the users themselves who vote on the published content to decide if it is interesting and, therefore, it should be given priority. “Comments and posts can be upvoted or downvoted. The most interesting content rises to the top”, point out its promoters.
These are just some of the applications that work similar to Twitter. There are also other alternatives, with their own characteristics, which are very popular and have millions of users: from Facebook to Instagram to TikTok or Telegram. Another option is to use Clubhouse as alternative to Twitter spaces to have live audio conversations with other users.
Apps like Mastodon, Plurk, Truth Social or Reddit can be a good tool to find people to share hobbies with. But we will still have to wait to see if users decide to leave Twitter en masse or not. When you’re looking to move to a social network, having your contacts move too can make the difference between staying for the long haul or just being a passing service.
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– Article Written By @Isabel Rubio from https://elpais.com/tecnologia/2022-04-26/cuatro-alternativas-a-twitter-tras-la-compra-de-elon-musk.html