How Twitter's descent into chaos is paving the way for the new web | Tech Crunch

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The post-Twitter era has spurred the development and further growth of many social networks, from open-source standbys like Mastodon to new decentralized concepts like Bluesky, and smaller startups like Post, Spill, and Spoutible that prioritize short posts. Tech giants like Meta have launched Twitter-like threads. While that's great news for people looking for a new place to land after Twitter's demise (the network under Elon Musk is now called X and headed in a different direction), it's a challenge for early adopters who want to experiment with new apps and services. .

Not everyone is satisfied with X's current course. Despite being the top-ranked app today, it's not the Twitter of yesteryear. X takes a lax approach to content moderation, leaving advertisers and some users to explore new options. Its owner also indulges in antisemitism and trolling, prompting more of the same from the user base. As the top advertisers fled, X's ads became worse and more spammy.

Changes at X were rapid and problematic, leading to a flurry of activity in the social sphere as alternatives to X emerged. But now there is something very good.

The Twitter diaspora, say, is hungry for a solution to save them from having to browse content from the half dozen apps they already consume, along with the news websites, blogs and other sources of information they already consume while online.

That problem is now being tackled by another group of developers – those who aren't trying to reinvent Twitter or improve it, but rather fix the problem of having “too many Twitters.”

Last week, we reported on Tapestry, a new project from The Iconfactory, an app development shop known for its work on early Twitter client Twitterrific. Recently funded on Kickstarter after showing off its prototype build, Tapestry aims to provide a unified app for tracking social media, news and RSS feeds in one place. That includes other posts like X, Bluesky, Mastodon, Tumblr, and possibly threads in the future.

Iconfactory is looking to raise just $100,000 to start development of a new app. It was fully funded as of February 5th and has since surpassed it, allowing it to hit stretch goals of $150,000 and up now, which will fund additional features for apps like muting, filtering, search, bookmarking and more.

Image Credits: The Iconfactory

Iconfactory isn't the only developer to seize the moment to develop a new multi-service social app.

The developer behind the popular Mac and iOS news reader app Reader, Silvio Rizzi, is now working on a Reader replacement. While Rizzi says support for the reader will continue, the new project aims to offer more than just news feeds. In an announcement at Mastodon last week, the developer teased plans for the app to be more than “just an RSS reader” but “a tool that lets you access content from all sources like podcasts, YouTube, Mastodon, and more.” ” He said.

The app is expected to launch into public beta on Mac, iPhone and iPad this spring. (A screenshot of the app concept posted by Rizzi is a nod to Tapestry, as both projects emerged at the same time.)

Image Credits: Silvio Rizzi

Meanwhile, Tapbots, makers of the Mastodon client Ivory (and previously the Twitter app Tweetbot based on it), are figuring out how to reach users on the growing number of social networks. There is no single Twitter replacement, so deciding where to focus limited developer resources is critical.

According to Tapbots co-founder Paul Haddad, the company has not yet decided whether it will support Bluesky, but says they are thinking about it.

“We have our next few months pretty booked with Ivory/Mastodon features, and Fedivers is committed to the long term,” he told TechCrunch, referring to the decentralized social web powered by the ActivityPub protocol. “We plan to take a look at Bluesky sometime after that.”

However, if Tapbots supports Bluesky, it may or may not be part of the Ivory app, he added.

Other services focus on the needs of power users and creators to cross-post to multiple networks at once. This includes scheduling tools like Fedica and Postpone as well as consumer apps like Yap. The latter offers a solution for posting to X, Bluesky, Farcaster, Lens and Threads, although it lacks access to the Threads developer API, requiring users to disable Instagram's two-factor authentication (2FA) for it to work. (We don't recommend this.)

Yes app

Image Credits: Yes

Similarly, an app from Japanese developer Sora provides access to Mastodon, Bluesky, and federated networks MyKey and Firefish.

Then there are the various Web3, blockchain-based networks and protocols like Forecaster and Lens, as well as other decentralized protocols that promote their own networks, like Nostr (liked by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey these days). There is also a decentralized network matrix that provides multiple cross-platform clients.

Reddit has also inspired decentralized alternatives like Lemmy, /kbin and other smaller projects.

Because not all decentralized networks talk to each other, bridges are also being built between protocols, like those connecting Matrix to Nostr or Mastodon to Bluesky.

“We need FriendFeed for the 2000s,” wrote Matthew Ingram, a quipped Columbia Journalism Review journalist and longtime tech adopter, in a post on the threads.

His suggestion harkens back to an earlier era when social networking abounded, Web 2.0, when users turned to the social networking aggregator co-founded by then-former Googler Brett Taylor (former Salesforce co-CEO), Gmail creator Paul Buchheit, Jim Norris and Sanjeev. Singh. FriendFeed combines social networking websites, bookmarking sites, websites, blogs and microblogs into one place — a demand that is back today after the explosion of Twitter alternatives and decentralized services.

In fact, Facebook eventually bought FriendFeed and shut down even better-resourced competitors like Google+ and began to dominate social media. Now known as Meta, the social networking giant is unbeatable with nearly 3.2 billion users across its family of apps. But in its rush to adopt the ActivityPub protocol in its new app threads, which Mastodon also uses, there's a hint of concern. This suggests that Meta also believes that the tide may be turning against it as users embrace these alternative social platforms.

For some smaller apps, the decision is whether to compete with or join a growing number of alternatives. For example, Twitter competitor Spoutible, formerly founded by Christopher Bouzi, a developer of the Twitter analytics service, announced in December that its network would “soon” integrate with Mastodon for cross-posting and later threads.

“Users can post positions on various platforms, not just as a social media platform but as a versatile tool designed to streamline your digital communication,” he wrote, adding that Spoutable was clearly not among the favorites to win the competition. The new Twitter.

Unfortunately, for people hoping for a simple cross-posting solution, Spoutible faced security issues this month, revealing that the API had a serious vulnerability that could allow hackers to take control of user accounts. The API also provides reset tokens that help users change their 2FA (two-factor authentication) code and passwords. This puts Spoutible's cross-posting plans on the back burner for now, if not its future entirely.

Another Web 2.0 survivor, Flipboard, has also recently decided that integration is the best way forward. It left Twitter and merged with Mastodon while rebuilding its back end to join Fediverse, a decentralized social web. The Social Magazine app last May became the first app to support Bluesky, Mastodon and Pixelfed (a decentralized Instagram alternative), allowing users to track updates from these social networks, as well as YouTube, all in one place.

Image Credits: Flipboard

Another platform, micro.blog, is looking to address cross-posting needs from a different angle: as a blog host. Instead of creating content directly on social platforms, users can publish on Micro.blog, follow other bloggers and participate in conversations, as well as cross-posting to popular platforms such as Mastodon, Medium, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Flickr, Bluesky, Nostr. , and Pixelfed. (Iconfactory says its upcoming app Tapestry also supports micro.blog).

Elsewhere, the publishing giant purchased the WordPress ActivityPub plugin to allow WordPress blogs to join Fediverse. Newsletter platform Substock has created a short-form “Notes” feed similar to Twitter. Artifact, an aggregator from Instagram co-founders, pivoted to cloning Twitter before eventually shutting down.

In short, there is a lot going on in the social web today. And this isn't an exhaustive list of companies and developers attacking the problem — or adding to it. Anonymous is, of course, a wide variety of open source and even small projects in the works, common when open APIs are available.

It remains to be seen whether this explosion of new social networks will be a temporary problem or a new state of affairs. Perhaps, some of the smaller “Twitter-alts” will eventually die out after failing to gain traction, or fold into broader diversity, as Twitter rival Pebble (formerly T2) did last year.

But we're also likely to see the web rebuild in real time. There are many protocols, many platforms and many ways to connect not only people but also their media and their ideas, with links to websites, news and blogs.

Aggregators like Tapestry may be an initial step in figuring out how to navigate this new web, but it also requires a way to search: information shared by these novel social networks in new Google-type new protocols that plug into all activity now, including websites. And who is building it?





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