Creator Economy, Entrepreneurship Should You Move from Twitter Elsewhere?
The Trouble in Twitter
The current leadership and ownership changes in Twitter have caused many users to go to Mastodon. Business-wise Twitter lost lots of significant advertisers.
The Rise of Mastodon
Lots of users, close to half a million, have joined Mastodon in the last two weeks. Mastodon labels itself as a decentralized social network that is free of advertising.
The term decentralized has nothing to do with the blockchain world, which also uses the term decentralized prominently.
Decentralized in the sense of Mastodon means that there is no website like Twitter or Facebook where you go and sign up. Instead, there is a collection of servers, each run by a separate group of people, and you sign up on a server.
Each server is essentially a different computer system that some group of people is hosting, with its web address and its content moderation policy.
The look and feel are similar to Twitter, but the feed is ordered chronologically (the latest tweets on top).
This collection of Mastodon servers looks pretty familiar to the Discord world. In the Discord system, which is very popular in gaming, startup communities, open source, and blockchain, a user joins a server. Each server is its community, with its administrators and content moderation. You must be invited to join a Discord server.
A significant difference between Mastodon and Discord is that Discord is a company. The Discord company technically runs and hence at a certain level, controls all servers.
A user has a single username and password across all Discord servers, whereas you get a different username in each Mastodon server.
Reddit is a well-known discussion platform, split into communities for different topics, called subreddits. Reddit is a company running the infrastructure with global content moderation policies. In Reddit, a user has a single username, password, and avatar.
Where Should I Promote Myself
For the creator, solopreneur, and SMB owner, who wants to promote his/her creation, work, and business, this is intriguing. Should they try Mastodon? Should they try Discord? Maybe Reddit?
Will Mastodon have the same business benefits that Twitter has? Will it be better?
What about Discord and Reddit? Are they equivalent to Twitter?
Mastodon, with its multiple servers, Discord, with multiple servers; and Reddit, with the various subreddits, cause a fragmentation of the user population.
On the one hand, this fragmentation guarantees you are focusing your efforts on the segment of the population which is closer to your goals and needs. So this is good.
On the other hand, this fragmentation prevents you from throwing a wide net. It is not clear which server/subreddit you should target. Most creators target a broad population, and SMBs and solopreneurs have wide-ranging target markets. Yes, it would be best if you niched down, but it does not mean your niche will be a single server/subreddit.
On top of this fragmentation, you should consider the network effects you will have.
The Hub-and-Spoke Network Effect
Network effects are phenomena in social networks and other communication systems, such as mobile phones, where the value of the network grows to all users as more users join.
For example, a mobile phone or a landline from the time of Alexander Graham-Bell becomes more valuable as a communication device, as more of your friends have a landline or a mobile.
A variety of network effects have been discovered over the past fifty years. A recent network effect popularized by TikTok is the hub-and-spoke network effect. In TikTok, users create content, and the algorithm selects what to show in the feed and in what order to display the content.
The rise of TikTok is due to a large extent to the superiority of the TikTok algorithm in floating up content. This algorithm can make a user a star in a short while.
Twitter is Not Fragmented
Twitter does show you content based on your interests and with the order determined by your followers, the people you follow, and related factors such as likes and retweets. Yet the population is not fragmented as in Mastodon, Discord, and Reddit, so you can reach a broad audience.
Twitter versus TikTok
Ignoring the difference in media formats, TikTok is based on the video, and Twitter is based on text; the Twitter algorithm does bring you up the feed of your niche if you select your hashtags carefully.
The algorithm of Twitter exhibits less of a hub-and-spoke effect, with all users contributing to a single feed that the network pushes to a vast population. Yet, it has more of this effect than the fragmentation of Mastodon, Discord, and Reddit.
Stay with Twitter
We believe all this consideration tilt in favor of the creator, solopreneur, and SMB continuing to use Twitter.
Our analysis does lots of simplifications. Among which is ignoring Reddit being focused on discussion threads.
Yet, we believe one should stay with Twitter for now.