Will Twitter continue to reign supreme, or is another app set to beat it?
Elon Musk’s $44 billion takeover of Twitter eventually happened in October 2022, and it’s safe to say that almost everything changed overnight. From key staff lay-offs to the controversy of removing the verified blue tick… then making people pay for them, then enabling some for celebrities… it’s certainly been a bumpy ride these past few months.
With more and more Twitter users becoming increasingly ready to leave the platform – research from Insider Intelligence expects a drop of 4% of users in 2023 and 5% in 2024, totalling around 32 million – others in the social media world are starting to wonder where these former Twitter users will migrate to.
First up to the plate, Meta.
It’s thought that the Facebook-Instagram giant is reportedly working on a Twitter rival: a text-only social platform called Barcelona, which enables Instagram users to post text-only updates of up to 500 characters. With usernames reportedly being the same as Instagram handles, this will enable the two billion monthly active users to quickly migrate to this new platform in seconds, potentially making this one of the fastest-growing social platforms.
While limited updates have been shared so far, one thing is certain: this could be a very interesting development for all parties. With Twitter losing an average of $4 million a day since the takeover according to Elon Musk himself, will Meta create something of true value? (We’re looking at you, Metaverse)
With Instagram rolling back on various updates after significant bad feedback, Barcelona may just be the app that brings it all together.
Secondly, there’s Bluesky.
An invite-only alternative that first began in 2019, this new rival has come straight from Twitter’s co-founder Jack Dorsey. Looking very similar to the original, Dorsey’s aim was to create a decentralised service where data is stored on independent servers rather than company-owned. Put simply, users will have more choice and more control, including the power to control their own personal algorithm.
Interestingly, Bluesky’s interface has some very strong nods to its predecessor and, while still in beta testing, users accepted to the platform will find elements that helped Twitter take off: likes, comments and reposts.
According to Fortune, Bluesky has been downloaded from the Apple app store 360,000 times so far, with over a million users on the waitlist. What’s more, Bloomberg has reported that most users signed up in the past month. Perhaps a sure sign that Elon’s Twitter may not be able to hold the top spot?
While many had thought that Mastodon – the open source non-profit platform that’s most similar to Twitter – may have been the major platform to take off, numbers suggest that its popularity is declining. According to the platform’s own data, 2.5 million users were active in December 2002, declining to 1.4 million in late January, and down to 1.2 million active users in late April 2023.
Looking ahead, there are many questions to what will happen next at Twitter. Will Twitter Blue continue to divide public opinion? Will celebrities stay or jump ship? Will Barcelona or Bluesky take the lead in the race for the best text-based social platform? One thing’s for sure: these new emerging platforms from the original giants of social media may prove tough for Twitter to beat.
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