It has now been over three weeks since Elon Musk took control of the social networking site Twitter in a $44 billion deal.
As the Tesla CEO continues to make changes including firing staff, announcing blue ticks for a fee, and reinstating previously banned ex-President Donald Trump, his takeover has not been well received by all users.
For days the hashtag #RIPTwitter has been trending on the site as people announce they are leaving the platform as a result of its new ownership and direction and Musk himself began sharing memes hinting at the death of the platform. Despite that, Musk regularly tweets about Twitter setting new records for daily active users.
Social media expert Blair Kaplan Venables told Newsweek: “Other social media platforms are gaining users because people are scared that if Twitter collapses under Musk’s reign, they will lose an online community where they have established connections and rapid access to global news and information.
“They want to start building that elsewhere, just in case. Nothing can replace Twitter because its proved itself to be one of the legacy social media platforms and has successfully been around since 2006,” she explained.
Platforms suggested as alternatives for those looking to ditch Twitter include MySpace, Tumblr and Mastodon.
At the beginning of November, Mastodon tweeted that: “Over 1 million people have joined Mastodon since October 27. Between that and those who returned to their old accounts, the number of active users has risen to over 1.6 million today.”
But those looking for another platform to share their everyday thoughts and connect online seem to have gravitated towards two sites in particular this week.
Newly discovered social sites Hive Social and Cohost—while still small by comparison to Twitter’s 259 million daily active users—are gaining popularity as users defect from Twitter.
According to SimilarWeb.com analytics, Cohost has seen a 129 percent increase in hits in the last month. Meanwhile, app analytics service data.ai recently ranked Hive Social as the number one newly downloaded app for social media in the U.S. and has reached number one on the top free social apps on the Apple App Store.
Meanwhile on Monday the Hive Social official Twitter account reported 1 million users on their app and said: “Thank you to everyone who has followed us, joined, shared their Hive posts and profiles.”
Michael Bossetta, a social media expert and political and data scientist at Lund University in Sweden, told Newsweek: “There’s been plenty of attempted ‘migrations’ before—to challengers like Gab, Minds, etc. The user experience of these platforms is generally terrible compared to highly resourced mainstream platforms, and they lack the network effects that get people to revisit the platforms on a regular basis.”
What Is Hive Social?
Hive Social is a social networking app with similarities to Twitter and Instagram. By setting up a feed of accounts you follow and giving you access to a Discover page to explore trending content and profiles, the site allows users to interact and share thoughts and updates with each other.
With an interface that looks familiar, featuring pictures and posts that can be liked, replied to, and re-posted, Hive Social is more visual than Twitter with pictures and memes taking the forefront.
According to a tweet by Hive Social, their app was founded by Kassandra Pop in 2019, the person who is also named on Hive Social’s WeFunder investment page where she said: “I noticed an increasing demand for a new social media app as dissatisfaction with current ones increased. I self-taught myself how to code in summer 2019, deployed our first version in October 2019.”
On Hive Social’s website, their About Us page lists their founder as Raluca, while a LinkedIn page for Kassandra (Raluca) P. refers to themselves as the founder of Hive Social.
Newsweek reached out to Kassandra Pop for comment.
Launched on the iOS app store toward the end of 2019, it wasn’t until early 2021 the platform gained any real attention.
Reaching number one on the iOS App Store in February 2021 and gaining hundreds of thousands of users, Hive Social started to grow.
On TikTok on Saturday, Hive Social shared how their site servers crashed when 80,000 users joined Hive Social in one day.
In recent days though, the platform has seen another burst of growth as people share how they are enjoying the Hive Social experience.
One new Hive Social user wrote on Twitter: “Of the Twitter alternatives, Hive Social has a lot of potential! It’s channeling a lot of MySpace energy by allowing you to add music to your profile.”
“Hive social actually seems like a functional and useable social media app,” said another person.
Another user said: “The app is really wholesome and the embodiment of safe space.”
Hive Social continues to update users on the latest developments of their app, including informing users they are busy “squashing bugs” and trying to fix a current pause in email verifications.
On Monday, users noticed that they could not sign up with an email address and Hive explained that their email verifications quota was set at 100,000 users a day which was surpassed quickly by new sign-ups.
The app also announced some policies on Monday, revealing that in contrast to Twitter, Donald Trump is already banned from the social platform, as is social media personality Andrew Tate.
How to Get Hive Social
Hive Social is a mobile-first platform that can currently only be accessed via app. Available on the iOS Apple App store and Google Play store, Hive Social is free to download and sign-up takes just minutes.
What Is Cohost?
The other new kid on the social media block is Cohost.
The Cohost founders first posted an introduction to their site in February 2022 when they said: “This is cohost, a new social media platform we’ve been working on for what, in retrospect, is a terrifyingly long time.”
Inspired by Tumblr but “not a direct clone of anything,” the site offers a profile page where users can post text updates and pictures and interact with other members in comments.
Cohost also prides itself on a model that differs from other social platforms. On the homepage it states: “Cohost will never sell your data, sell ads, or sell the company to anyone who might change these policies to make a quick buck.”
On Twitter, users are sharing their newly created Cohost accounts to try and stay connected to followers.
“Recently made a Cohost account in case anything happens here,” said one Twitter user.
“Join us at cohost we have fun there,” said another new user of the platform.
How to Get Cohost
Cohost is a web-based platform that can be accessed by a browser.
Starting as an invitation-only platform, the fastest way to become a member is to have an invite code from another member.
You can join without an invite code by signing up with a username, email and password and the team at Cohost say that they will activate new accounts each weekday.
Some users have complained that they are still waiting to have their accounts authorized on the new site. One user said: “I like the look of Cohost but I’ve been waiting to be authorized for over a week now.”
“I think Hive Social has potential to be a viable Twitter alternative since it has some of the best features of social media platforms of past and present,” said Kaplan Venables. “It is too soon to know what Cohost will be like. I set up Mastodon and found it very confusing.”
Newsweek has reached out to Hive Social and Cohost for comment.
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