With Twitter doing a speed run for killing its platform for good, I’m surprised that nobody mentioned Twitter alternatives besides the Anime Feminist back when a certain billionaire decided to buy the platform in April.
From what I am experiencing, very few posted alternate profiles. From this, I fear that most will get caught flatfooted when Twitter goes bankrupt or suddenly shutdown by regulators, probably sooner than we expect.
Given that most anime fans and bloggers use Twitter to socialize, there is a huge possibility that many will lose contact with friends or connections made on the platform. I want to bring attention to this in the anime blogosphere to start thinking about your escape plan. Then, I will explain one alternative most people are switching to.
What is up with Twitter?
Since 2010, there has been a considerable shift from anime forums and blogs to social networks like Twitter. It’s not surprising since blogging takes a lot of time, and it’s easier to meet and connect with other anime fans on social media. Also, sharing thoughts about anime on Twitter takes less time than writing an entire blog post. But, of course, there are more people on social networks than on internet forums, which is why they are on the decline.
While Twitter has its ups and downs, I met many other bloggers and people on Twitter. Although I block a lot of far-right and alt-right accounts, I never experience any type of harassment.
However, all good things come to an end. First, a certain billionaire decided to buy the platform. Even before that happened, Twitter was declining primarily because of money issues. Then, of course, there is the amount of hate and harassment on the platform and misinformation, more so after that billionaire, who shall not be named, bought it.
Now, that certain billionaire is doing a speed run of running Twitter into the ground. Not only the Twitter Blue paid verification, while funny and dangerous because bad actors use it for malicious purposes, but Twitter also has a brain drain. It’s particularly bad for privacy and cybersecurity as those people left. This is bad as your personal data could be at risk, and service reliability can decline. Of course, this can get Twitter into trouble with the Federal Trade Commission for not meeting privacy and cybersecurity standards.
With advertisers pulling out of Twitter as they don’t want their ads shown next to tweets promoting hate or far-right ideologies, they are losing money quickly. Add that to the potential fines from the US Federal Trade Commission, which are millions to billions of dollars. In short, Twitter will probably die and shut down by the end of this year or early next year. That is why I want to bring up alternatives to reduce the risk of losing connection with your followers and friends.
Why the Fediverse?
As we know, centralized social networks have advantages. One is that meeting others is easy as everyone uses that platform. However, there is one major weakness. Some billionaires can buy and run the platform into the ground, and bad actors spread hate and misinformation.
The Fediverse fixes that by creating a decentralized social network using an open standard called ActivityPub. The Fediverse consists of servers that contain social networking software that users use. The servers communicate with others to share interactions. Unfortunately, this also allows other users to interact and follow others on other servers. This is because your username acts more like an email address than a social handle.
However, server owners can block communication with other servers from communicating to their own that contain bad actors that spread hate, harassment, and misinformation. Mastodon is the most popular Fediverse software, but others like GNU social, Friendica, and Pleroma work similarly to Twitter.
So, why the Fediverse? After looking at alternatives like Cohost, I can’t join another centralized social network after what happened to Twitter. Not to mention, their TOS strikes that as a possible alternative because the terms state they own all user-generated content. Also, their user base is much smaller than the Fediverse, especially the Mastodon user base.
The significant advantage of the Fediverse is the ownership is in the hand of regular users, not controlled by a giant corporation and is open source. This is akin to internet forums, blogs, and Discord “servers.” Also, with the technical know-how, you can install your own Fediverse server. Another advantage is that you are not locked into one server. You can migrate your content and followers/followers to another if one decides to shut down or become problematic.
While I tried Mastodon in 2018, it was rough on the edges, and hardly anyone is using it. However, with the recent 4.0 upgrade, the user experience improved quite a bit. Sure, there are still some shortcomings, as discovering users is tricky. Also, retweeting or “boosting” and replying to updates called “toots” on other servers require you to copy the URL and paste it into the server you are on. I hope the developers of Mastodon improve on this shortcoming in the future.
With that, the biggest hurdle to joining the Fediverse with Mastodon is what server to join. The server usually doesn’t matter, as you can move to another server later. I thought of that. I created a Mastodon server called Sakurajima for anime/Japanese media fans and bloggers to join, as there aren’t any that cater to them. Most, if not all, of the servers that promote hate, misinformation, and extremist ideologies are banned on that server (list is not public as those instances are banned to the shadow realm). Note that this server is a donor sponsored to cover server costs. There are also mastodon.social run by the official developers, but that is closed for registration at the moment.
Once you have an account, I suggest reading some guides on how to use it, some listed here, to familiarize yourself with Mastodon. Then, if you are not ready to transition, you can crosspost during the interim. Again, the instructions are in the guides I linked.
Note: If you are having issues not receiving a verification email after signing up to Sakurajima, try changing email providers and not use free providers like hotmail.com/outlook.com or yahoo.com. If you are still having troubles, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I can have your account manually approved.
If you find the Fediverse too intimidating, people apparently flocking back to Tumblr. After all, they finally reversed the nudity ban, but other sexually-explicit NSFW content is still banned, which might be a deal breaker for some. There are also internet forums. While Sakurajima also has forums, other notable and still-alive anime forums are Anime Suki, Anime News Network, Anime subreddit, and the usual MyAnimeList, AniList, and Anime Planet forums. There is also Discord. However, I won’t focus on that since it’s more like a chat room than a social network.
Also, there are anime blogs. While I shared many reasons you should start one, if you used Twitter to follow blogs only, there are other ways to still follow them. One way is through WordPress Reader. Most anime blogs use WordPress, and you can find them by searching or clicking the Follow button for WordPress. Alternative, you can just use an RSS reader, as most blogs have a feed you can subscribe to.
Another way is through Anime Blog Tracker, which shows the latest blog posts from blogs in the blogosphere. You can use the website to subscribe to blogs that interest you.
In addition, you can socialize with the author through the comment section of their posts. Anime blogs can use some interaction now that Twitter might shut down in the future.
Once you create and share your alternative social accounts, share them with your followers so they can find you and update your social links on your blog, if you have one. Also, download an archive of your Twitter data as well. However, leave your account as it is since someone can take the name later and try to impersonate you.
With that, I hope this helps. Hopefully, most people will have a backup plan, as once Twitter goes down, it can become difficult for creators to reconnect with their acquaintances, friends, and followers. So, find alternatives and start the migration so your followers can find you before Twitter inevitably shuts down.
As for me, I have subscribed to a Jetpack addon, which allows my blog posts to appear again on WordPress Reader’s search and tags. This will hopefully enable people to discover my content easier without Twitter.Bloggers who self-host WordPress can do this by subscribing to a Jetpack plan or addon.
Either way, you can find me on the following platforms:
- Blog – https://chikorita157.com
- Mastodon – https://sakurajima.moe/@chikorita157
- Tumblr – https://tumblr.chikorita157.com
- WordPress Reader – https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/50814868
So, what are you planning to migrate to if Twitter goes down? Feel free to share any other alternatives you plan to move to or use as a backup.