Have you ever found yourself scrolling through Facebook and wished that you had more sites to pick from? Perhaps some of your friends have left X (previously Twitter), and you are looking to reconnect. Maybe you want to separate your professional and personal internet presence or find something with fewer ads.
You could have any number of reasons for wanting to expand your social media awareness from the mainstream giants. To help you access more of the content you love or connect with more people, we’ve gathered a list of some fairly popular and other up-and-coming alternatives to expand your networking palette.
Lovers of Reddit may be surprised to learn that the site was actually pre-dated by Usenet. In fact, Usenet was the very first social network and remains one of the more secure options for accessing online information.
Usenet is a Unix-based system that works through a free and subscription-based model. Rather than working from a centralized server on a web page, Usenet is accessed through newsreader software and offered through various providers. Benefits and abilities on the network vary based on your subscription, with free being great for newcomers to get a feel for the network and paid models offering longer thread retention and security options.
From the makers of TikTok, Lemon8 combines the best features of Instagram and Pinterest. Lemon8 is built for content creators and currently hosts content related to fashion, beauty, food, wellness, travel, and home. The app is currently ad-free, though creators can upload sponsored content.
Another option growing in popularity is Locket. This little app exploded onto the scene after the creator’s family and friends fell in love with the custom widget. Now, users across the globe create friend and family groups where they can upload images to share with loved ones.
There’s no denying that Twitter, now rebranded to X, has a monopoly on the short-form discussion concept. However, there are even more platforms available to connect with creators or friends.
Threads is the most recently introduced alternative platform. The discussion app was created by Meta, the minds running Facebook. It was built as a rival to X, but many users choose to use both platforms.
Mastodon has been around since 2016. The social network is decentralized, comprised of independent servers that focus on specific topics. Users choose what servers to join or even host.
For users wanting more privacy online, True is a great choice. True encrypts all messages and offers users full control over who they connect with. In addition to public threads, True also allows users to create private threads that cannot be found through search engines or in-app searches.
Many tech enthusiasts are watching the short-form network industry for the official launch of BlueSky, an app being developed by Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s co-founder and ex-CEO. Like Mastodon, Bluesky is decentralized, but it also has a similar UI to X. The network is built on federated design, community moderation, and algorithmic choice, keeping the user in control of their content and allowing easy access to server changes. BlueSky currently has a waiting list and is invite-only while the app undergoes beta testing, but preliminary reports are promising.
Connection And Communication
The Pandemic saw a rise in video conferencing, with Zoom quickly taking the lead in industry innovations. But Zoom doesn’t have a monopoly on video conferencing. Gamers, creatives, and tabletop enthusiasts are quite familiar with Discord.
Discord offers voice, video, and text-based functionality to users. Discord communities are hosted in servers, and server admins choose how the group is accessed. Many gaming companies will create public servers for their games, such as Phantasy Star Online and Animal Crossing, whereas other groups opt to use an invite-only server. Most servers follow a specific theme or community, such as NaNoWriMo groups per city or servers hosted by streamers for their community.
Servers can be split into channels, and the server admin chooses how the servers are organized and what rules apply.
More well-known alternatives for video-conferencing include Google Meet and Skype. Like Discord, these also offer screen sharing options and text chat ability for meetings.
Social Media is ever-evolving, with more options becoming available over time. Not all networks remain successful, but new alternatives are worth exploring for more ways to connect with content creators, friends, family, and even businesses. With time and exploration, users can begin to curate a suite of connection apps that best fit their style and preferences while keeping larger networks focused on innovation to stay competitive in a growing market.