Twitter layoffs: will Elon Musk survive as users join alternative platforms while employees lose jobs?

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Last week it was sinking in. Now we’re sinking lower and lower

A week is a long time in social media. It’s hard to believe that it has been just a week since billionaire and Tesla chief Elon Musk got the keys to, but a lot has happened since.

It started with the immediate sacking of the site’s top executives, for ‘misleading’ Musk on the amount of spam accounts on the platform. In a grim and depressing turn of events, Twitter staff have told NationalWorld that they are expecting all UK staff to be put on gardening leave. Further to that, they’ve expressed concern with misinformation spreading and the long term health of the platform.

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In the meantime we’ve had the frankly bizarre claims of users being charged to have a blue tick, or paying to get a blue tick themselves for just $20 a month. So much for free speech. It’s difficult not to echo the concerns of Twitter’s staff for the long-term health of the platform. The platform rarely makes a profit, but it is difficult to see how removing people who help with the moderation and curation of the content we see on the site will stop it becoming the “’Free-for-All Hellscape’” that Musk said he wanted to avoid when he bought it.

Elon Musk’s Twitter account displayed on a phone screen (NurPhoto via Getty Images)Elon Musk’s Twitter account displayed on a phone screen (NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Elon Musk’s Twitter account displayed on a phone screen (NurPhoto via Getty Images) | NurPhoto via Getty Images

It will be even more difficult if people leave the platform. Unconfirmed reports suggest up to one million users have departed since Musk entered Twitter headquarters with his sink. If the situation goes down the toilet, there are some alternatives…

What are the best Twitter alternatives?

  • Mastodon: Up until about a week ago, this writer (shamefully) hadn’t heard of this platform. But it seems that a lot of people have seen the platform as an alternative to Twitter, with an estimated 70,000 users signing up to the site since Musk became Twitter chief. In style, it is most similar to Twitter, with micro-blogging features and reassuringly, they are hot for articles about helping to protect the environment. Interestingly, the platform is decentralised, meaning it can’t be controlled by a corporation or billionaire. Relief for users everywhere.
  • Reddit: The world’s forum. There aren’t many things that aren’t discussed on Reddit, providing the variety that Twitter provides, though its range of topics could prove overwhelming in our instantaneous world. Though it doesn’t have the micro-blogging features or easy-to-use interactivity, it is moderated by a team of dedicated moderators. Again, a relief for Twitter users.
  • Tumblr: 2010 called and they want to talk. It wasn’t us, it was them and they want us to give them another chance. Tumblr is back. From a user experience point of view, Tumblr was ahead of its time. Its layout and variety made it interesting to view, and users can post text, videos, or images, which fellow users can then comment on or ‘reblog’. The site that was probably ahead of its time may have a (cleaner) renaissance again.

Other alternatives:

  • Bluesky: Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey’s new project, which is still in the beta stage. However, it emerged recently that Dorsey remains invested in Twitter under Musk, so it’s not really an ‘alternative’. Sorry.
  • Discord: Like Reddit, but more of a general discussion rather than focussed on individual topics. A good platform in its own right, but not very similar to Twitter.
  • Instagram/Facebook/TikTok: Never change a winning formula etc. All social media platforms have their issues, but there’s a reason these three platforms are amongst the most popular in the world. If you can look past those, these three provide the variety you need.

If the next week is as chaotic as the last, see you on [insert website name] later.

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