What apps to use if you leave Twitter

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Twitter has a new billionaire owner with big plans. For many of the site’s loyal 16-year-old users, Elon Musk’s takeover is a sign that it’s time to use Twitter less or quit it altogether.

The fast-paced stream of news, commentary and argument has already seen some changes, including an increase in hate speech. Musk has made it clear that he intends to revamp the site. Massive job cuts and his own stance on free speech could lead to more widespread harassment and misinformation. Musk also suggested he would allow former President Donald Trump to return to the site.

On October 27, Elon Musk completed his purchase of Twitter and began to take control of the social media company, firing several key executives. (Video: Jonathan Baran/The Washington Post)

A number of companies are scrambling to fill the potential void. After the sale closed, a flurry of people said they were heading to Mastodon, an open-source alternative that has been trying to brand itself as less toxic Twitter for years. juggernaut won 22,139 new accounts last week and 10,801 the day after Musk took office, Mastodon chief executive Eugen Rochko said. The site now has over 380,000 monthly active users, while Twitter has 237.8 million daily active users.

Even if all of Twitter agrees to move, there isn’t a single exact copy or application that will hit all of the same places. As with Facebook, ditching Twitter can mean dispersing your online presence to several other apps. Quitting Twitter could also mean permanently cutting out elements of your online life, like late-night doomscrolling or arguing with strangers online for sports. And maybe, just maybe, it’s okay.

Here are the options you can consider.

Privacy reset: A guide to the important settings you need to change now

For many users, Twitter is where they see real-time news. Instead, place a news aggregator app on your phone’s homepage, like Apple’s News app or Google News. Both include a wide selection of outlets and local news sources, which may be the first to report on events in their area, such as shootings or disasters. Switching to traditional media has the added benefit of reducing the risk of misinformation, which can spread on Twitter during news events.

If you prefer to create your own list of outlets, like you do on Twitter, try an RSS reader. Use an app like Feedly, Newsify or Inoreader. If you particularly enjoy messy arguments over news between regular Twitter customers, the comments section of any news post should fill that void.

Benefit from expertise and entertainment

One of the pleasures of Twitter is that you can read the thoughts of fascinating people for free. Academics, legal experts, journalists, comedians, and people who have dedicated their lives to niche topics are all sharing their talent in accessible ways. Thankfully, many are posting those same thoughts, in more depth, elsewhere.

Sign up for newsletters. Many big Twitter personalities have longer deals, posted by their employers or independently on Substack or Medium. You can also support creators on sites like Patreon and Ko-fi, which let you pay different amounts to access their content. Follow them on other major social media sites, like Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Finally, subscribe to podcasts featuring the same kind of smart, funny, and informative people you find on Twitter.

Forge personal relationships

People found lasting friendships, even fell in love and got married, on Twitter. If you’ve already connected with other Twitter users, make sure you have another way to contact them, like WhatsApp, Signal, or Instagram. If you have a group of friends, it was probably time to start a group chat anyway.

As for making more of these connections, it’s more difficult. Email or direct message people whose posts you like on other sites. When joining other sites like Reddit, look for communities of people with similar interests and use direct messages or replies to strike up friendly conversations. Some dating sites have launched platonic versions of their apps specifically for meeting friends, including Bumble BFF, Meetup, and Friender.

To find larger groups of people with similar interests, check out Facebook groups, join subreddits on topics that interest you most, find relevant Discord groups, or see if there’s a similar group on Mastodon. You can test an app called CounterSocial which is similar to Twitter. Chances are, all of your interests already have a thriving community on TikTok and YouTube, where you can participate in comments if you don’t want to post videos yourself. If you’re trying to find a specific community, look at their latest tweets and see if any prominent members have said where they’ll be next. If you don’t see the group you want to thrive yet, start it yourself.

Get emergency updates

Federal and local agencies use Twitter to post updates on emergencies, such as road closures due to flooding, shelter-in-place orders during shootings, and evacuation updates for wildfires . You can follow agencies on Facebook instead, but your best bet is to make sure you get the alerts delivered straight to your phone.

How to never miss an emergency alert, from shootings to wildfires

Check your phone settings to see what wireless emergency alerts you receive, such as Amber Alerts. Subscribe to your school or workplace alert systems and find local alerts by searching for agencies in your state, city or county. A number of them use the Nixle SMS Emergency Alert System (to sign up, text your postcode to 888777).

Finally, you can dive into the controversial world of neighborhood crime apps, like Citizen and Amazon’s Neighbors app. They allow you to follow events as they happen in your area with updates from people at the scene, and many local agencies are already there. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

It seems that as long as job search and corporate jargon exist, LinkedIn will thrive. You’re probably already on LinkedIn, so all you need to do is polish your profile and start posting or sharing what you’re working on.

A Twitter exodus might be the best thing to happen to Clubhouse, the audio chat app that’s had a moment during the pandemic. Twitter has copied Clubhouse with its Twitter Spaces feature, which has been a hit with many users. If you leave Twitter, Clubhouse is still there and hosts 24-hour chat rooms.

TikTok has elevated mindless scrolling to an art form. If you use Twitter to kill time or relax, TikTok is the best replacement. You can see similar addictive video content on Instagram Reels, albeit days or weeks later. If your Twitter scrolling is more of a hassle than a pleasant way to pass the time, consider checking out eBooks from your local library to read on your phone instead. You get the same feeling of flipping through text non-stop on your screen for free, but with less anxiety.

Smartly try new apps

When choosing new social networks or apps to test, don’t blindly trust small businesses with your data or personal information. Remember that larger alternatives like Facebook and TikTok present their own ethical and privacy issues. To stay safe, avoid giving apps access to sensitive information like your contacts (they will ask you repeatedly). Check all your privacy settings, both in the app and in your smartphone settings. Sign up with an alias email address and use a strong password and multi-factor authentication when you can.

Stick around but protect your data

If you want to wait and see what happens, you can do so while minimizing the potential privacy risks posed by new management or a drop in moderation. You can even ghost yourself on the app without having to leave it completely.

How to lock down your Twitter data, or leave, as Musk takes over

If you use Twitter anonymously to communicate sensitive information or are concerned about online harassment, do these things immediately: back up all your tweets and watchlists, delete sensitive DMs (both parties should delete them), delete old tweets and lock privacy. and anti-harassment settings.

We walk you through each of these steps in this guide. Even if you don’t care about your presence on Twitter, you should export a copy of your Twitter data now so you have a list of people you follow, before they leave.

About Richard Chandler

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