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Elon Musk has created turmoil in the market of online communication. After Musk’s takeover of Twitter and the chaos he has created at the company, many other technology companies are beginning to look at how they can take over where the new Twitter fails. Last month workers at Meta, the parent company of both Facebook and Instagram, held brainstorming sessions to come up with new ideas to compete with the apparently failing Twitter.

Among Meta’s ideas was to expand on Instagram’s technology to include a text-focused application and a few names were suggested for the “new” service – “Realtime,” “Real Reels” and “Instant” were among the leaders.

One Meta employee wrote, “Twitter is in crisis and Meta needs its mojo back. LET’S GO FOR THEIR BREAD AND BUTTER.”

This statement seems to follow the sentiment of many in the industry. Musk has a target on his back and all the competition seems to be taking aim.

Meta is not the only one focused on the weak Twitter giant. Former Twitter workers have begun projects that could be the next Twitter. Post is a new start-up in the arena alongside some existing niche services like Mastodon, Tumblr, Telegram, Gettr and Hive Social, most of which tout themselves as less toxic versions of Twitter.

Gettr has even called itself the Twitter killer and has seen significant growth since Twitter removed Donald Trump from their platform. Gettr started in July 2021 and before November had three million registered users and 400,000 daily users. As of last month Gettr has seen 6.5 million downloads between the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. In comparison Twitter currently has 396.5 million registered users, so Gettr has quite a way to go before it catches up.

Mastodon touts, “Social networking that’s not for sale.” As an open source project, anyone can download, install and run their own server hosting Mastodon services. Unlike other competition in the market, Mastodon is a decentralized platform, meaning that rather than being managed by a single entity, it is hosted on several partner organization servers. Anyone that wants to meet the requirements can host Mastodon and contribute to the free social network platform. Unlike the competition Mastodon raises all its funding through sponsorship rather than advertising, much like a majority of Christian radio stations. Mastodon is designed more like Facebook than Twitter with the ability to post many types of content rather than a focus on text.

Tumblr claims that it is a website, not a social network but a mycelial network, which basically means it uses digital map technologies to create a unique experience for every user based on their preferences. “You’re the explorer. We’re just a map you all keep on making” is stated on their About Us page. Tumblr sees 327 million unique visitors a day and publishes 12.8 million blog posts daily. To me Tumblr looks a lot like a public blog site where anyone can post their own content.

Telegram is a private message board, where you control your own subscriber list and all the messages are encrypted so only those you share the message with are able to read it. Telegram is in heavy use among journalists to share information from anonymous informants. It claims 550 million active users and is among the top ten social networks.

Hive on the other hand is a unique platform designed around project and team management. The platform was designed to be used by large, geographically separated teams as a method of communication and document-sharing during projects. Hive is not free like most other social networks, except for some limited capabilities for individual use. Hive is looking at extending its integrated chat and messaging systems to provide a Twitter-like service, but is far from being able to provide a similar service today.

Until next week, stay safe and learn something new.

Scott Hamilton is an Expert in Emerging Technologies at ATOS and can be reached with questions and comments via email to shamilton@techshepherd.org or through his website at https://www.techshepherd.org.

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