There has been much written about X, the former Twitter, this year.
And while much of the speculation centers on the changes Elon Musk has made and how those changes will affect the company, no alternative has seized the moment fully.
Meta’s Threads was released arguably before it was ready for primetime, and after a stampede of users rushed in, the usage of the app has fallen off precipitously from 21 minutes per day when the app was released to a mere 3 minutes per day several months later.
Other companies like Bluesky and Mastodon have seen surges in new users and have positioned themselves as X alternatives.
Both companies are architected as open-source to supposedly provide users with more transparency about how the apps function.
Musk himself has been vocal that open-source is the way to go, but he has yet to take X in that direction, and in fact, fired the ethics team that was looking into a more open approach for the platform.
Twitter algorithm should be open source
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 24, 2022
Bluesky actually began as a pet project inside of Twitter by former CEO Jack Dorsey, who spun it off into its own thing before Musk took over.
Because Bluesky and Mastodon are open-source, they are available for other developers to create their own versions and their own hosted communities with the idea that the alternative to X is many small microsites.
Making this more confusing is that both companies run micro-blogging sites using their own software which many prefer over the work necessary to build and maintain their own communities.
The power of Twitter, after all, is the community that it brought together, and despite the claims that X will fail because so many of its advertisers have fled, the one stat that matters the most is the number of daily users that still log on.
That number has only fallen by a few percent since Musk took over, and X still sees a quarter of a billion daily users log on.
And so, a year on, no David has come forth to slay the Goliath that is X.