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Why there isn’t (yet) a real alternative to Twitter

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Since the takeover of Twitter by Elon Musk, many Internet users have been wondering about the advisability of turning away from it definitively, trying to find the network to which to migrate. Platforms like Mastodon, Hive, Post or CounterSocial are already attracting many curious people and displaying, for some, an insolent growth in the number of users. Hive, which now claims one million subscribers, said Tuesday, November 22 registered 250,000 new accounts in a single day.

This is not enough to make them legitimate replacements: even imagining that Twitter disappears overnight, crushed by the fail whales (error messages with almost cult status on the platform), there are many reasons why no successor has yet emerged.

Competitors still weak

First of all, a social network is not made in a day: long waiting list, technical problems faced with the influx of new subscribers, lack of personnel to respond to emergencies or inform Internet users… The setbacks experienced in recent weeks by platforms welcoming certain exiles from Twitter show that its competitors do not yet have the kidneys quite solid. Hive, for example, currently only has three employees, according to its founder, Raluca Pop. Even Tumblr, a social network that can be considered old (it was born a year after Twitter), has, it seems, encountered some difficulties facing spike in new app installs seen in the two weeks following the takeover of Twitter.

Moreover, even when they are more robust, its competitors often have faults that the blue bird social network, which is not without them, does not have. Starting with its ease of use: very often presented as one of the platforms most likely to succeed it, and despite its undeniable qualities, Mastodon sometimes ends up by putting off Internet userstaken aback by its decentralization, uninviting interface, and relative complexity.

Read also: How does Mastodon, presented as a “free” alternative to Twitter, work?

Moreover, alternative networks have another problem to solve: to attract and retain new users, they must have already attracted enough of them. Faced with the risk of arriving “too early” on a network and of being bored there, the temptation is strong to do as for an evening to which one is invited: to wait until enough people have gone there in order to be sure there will be atmosphere. Added to this is the fact that social networks are not, for the time being, interoperable: you cannot switch from one to the other as easily as you change telephone operator. Impossible, for example, to take with you the followers accumulated over the years, which can represent a significant obstacle for those who have already established their reputation.

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