Twitter Alternatives

Elon Musk, aka Space Karen, seems to be in the news every single day from his purchase of Twitter. He’s taken a perfectly good hell site and squeezing the remaining last goodness from it. Instead of being a fun place to complain about poor cable service, he’s opening up the floodgates of bile and racism.

Yeah, have fun over there. I mean, the dude paid forty billion dollars for it. He’s welcome to run it into the ground, but if you are like me, then you will have found value in micro-blogging and are looking for other services.

Twitter was a great solution. I really enjoyed it even though it had A LOT of issues.

Probably the biggest issue of all was that it was a for-profit service. Worse than that, it was a publicly traded company. There was enormous pressure to make a massive amount of profit versus being sustainable and making a modest profit.

(From what I understand, Twitter was underwater and sinking fast but I think that could have been salvaged in a way that wasn’t toxic to the userbase)

So I’ve spent the last month exploring and here are some alternatives and I’ve presented three. Well, actually two. The third one is more like a warning than a suggestion.

counter.social

CounterSocial is a free micro-blogging service that aims to clean the service from bots, trolls, misinformation, and just the regular vileness of social media. It adheres to a no-nonsense policy. There are no warnings. Obey the TOS or you are nuked. That’s it. Be a dick and get dicked. It’s great.

This means people are actually really nice to each other. It’s strange to be on a social network where people aren’t screaming at each other. But that’s not all.

There’s an attempt to make sure people aren’t posting disinformation. For example, when you post an image, that image is scanned for known deepfakes. Certain countries are banned like Russia and Iran due to the disinformation campaigns they run on social sites.

People freak out about the TweetDeck-like interface, but once you get use to it, you’ll never want to go back.

The site is paid for by pro accounts. You get a few extra features but for the most part, it’s a way to support the service as a whole. You can find me over there.

Some issues you may find – the current community is very liberal which I love, but the more conservative folks may balk at it (which is fine, there are plenty of conservative options out there). That said, you can employ filters to block out politics and the like, but on the whole, people lean left (which I love).

Th3J3st3r runs a tight ship

Also the site is run by a person called Th3J3st3r. He’s a famous hacker and he (I assume) has quite a legacy. Th3J3st3r runs everything on the site. From the development, servers, customer service – I mean everything. If you get banned, you aren’t banned by a moderation team. You are banned by him.

I’m sure he runs multiple accounts or has some close associates to help him with the project. No one knows who this person is – if they are working for themself or is part of a domestic or foreign entity. I’ve had personal interactions with him (and probably a few of his sock puppet accounts) a few times and he seems like an all-right fella. Hell, I actually fist-pumped some of his previous hacks when I read up on him.

For me, this is my replacement for Twitter. It’s also quite easy to build a following there. Just post interesting stuff whereas modern Twitter essentially required you to bring a platform to it versus building a platform in it. Some may be put off by the interface (it’s based on Tweetdeck), but you’ll find the community eager to help.

Mastodon

mastodon.social is my backup service. It’s basically a decentralized version of Twitter. Whereas counter.social is like a hip bar, Mastodon can feel a little stuffy (although that is changing daily).

Note: when I first wrote this, I was exclusively writing on counter.social but I've switched to mastodon.social as a lot of my Twitter friends are there now.

The service is open source and anyone can create their own server. All the servers talk to each other so you can follow people throughout the network. You can find me on it here.

Mastodon is a lot like Twitter except decentralized

It sounds ideal, but it’s just really kludgy. Like Twitter, it’s hard to build a following without an existing platform. Whereas counter.social prefers the “firehose” (aka, community feed), Mastodon defers to your local feed. Basically, you need to follow a ton of people to build followers.

Being Mastodon is a network of servers, you can view your local server’s activity or the Federated timeline. That is, all the other servers in the network. This sounds really awesome until you realize that each server has its own moderation policies. Let’s just say … some of them are pretty lax.

I had one dude posting pictures of himself posing in a speedo that left nothing to the imagination. Another dude posted pictures of animals pooping. Har har. And well, there was a lot of other nasty stuff. Then there was an assortment of foreign languages making some posts unreadable. There is an option to filter posts by language but that didn’t seem work.

Note: Since writing this, I've noticed less and less of this stuff as people correctly use the "content warning" flag.

For me, it’s a good backup in case Th3J3st3r goes back into the shadows.

Tribel

This is another Twitter-like service that is basically the Facebook of Twitters. This is a site that just wants to monetize your personal data. When you visit it for the first time – just to browse it – you must agree to a hefty TOS. Imagine signing a contract to window shop at the mall?

Just skip it. Unless you don’t care. In that case, you should still skip it.

Conclusion

There are a bunch of options out there beyond Twitter. Granted, if you want to follow Stephen King, you’re out of luck and will be stuck to Twitter. If that’s your thing, remember, the celebrities will go where the eyeballs are located. You have to make them move.

Also, if you do find a service and you do intend to build a platform, you should use multiple services. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If all it takes is one Elon to ruin your business, then you’ve built a house of cards that any douchebag with a lot of money can knock over.

Cheers!

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