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Although Twitter has been booming in the social media world, you may have tried it and decided it isn’t your cup of tea. If this is the case, there are a handful of other places to go that have been running for quite a while.
Tumblr (which we reviewed here) could be seen as a suitable alternative to Twitter. The service has been around since February 2007 and has been gaining users through all of those years. It’s similar to Twitter in that it’s a microblogging platform — most posts are meant to be short and to the point.
While Tumblr was originally meant for blog-like textual posts, it is more commonly used to post images. Tumblr could therefore be seen as more artistic than Twitter, and has a different, fresh interface.
However, once you think about it, it still mimics some of Twitter’s mechanics — you get a timeline of friends’ posts, and you can reshare and reply to posts.
Identi.ca, around since July 2008, is a community extremely similar to Twitter in that it follows all of Twitter’s mechanics. However, the service is actually an example community that uses an open source web application that mimics Twitter’s functionality. In other words, the web application was created to run identi.ca, and then was released as open source software for others to use. So posts are still limited to 140 characters, and you can still follow people as you would on Twitter, and you still have a timeline of posts, but you’re not actually using Twitter.
Identi.ca does have the addition of groups, meaning that you will get posts in your timeline from anyone who mentions, in their post, a group that you’re subscribed to.
Because Identi.ca primarily exists to show off the open source web application it uses, a large portion of the users are computer enthusiasts, programmers, and the like. However, if Twitter’s design and mechanics don’t irk you but rather something else, then Identi.ca may be a good option to look at. Do note that it’s not as straightforward to use as Twitter, and does require some know-how.
Plurk is another Twitter-like service which has been around since May 2008. It lets users post short messages (up to 210 characters this time) to their followers.
While the concepts of Plurk are roughly the same as Twitter’s, it offers a different interface, such as an actual timeline chart populated with posts rather than a listing in chronological order. Plurk is also different from Twitter in that it displays all posts in third-person — for example, “Danny Stieben is about to go to sleep.” could be a post.
Plurk is based in Taiwan and as such has a large portion of Taiwanese users. This means it might be difficult for you to find users who are geographically close to you, unless you’re from Taiwan or the area. If that isn’t an issue for you, then Plurk is an interesting option.
Path (which we reviewed here) is a rather unknown social network that has been around since late 2010. It looks like an interesting mixture between Facebook and Google+. The main mechanics of Path is to post whatever your thoughts are in any length of text. You also maintain a profile that has information about you.
So what’s different about Path compared to the other major social networks? Path places a lot of emphasis on limiting the amount of friends you can have. You only get to have 150. For a lot of people this may seem like a disservice, but I understand the concept — they’re trying to make you maintain higher-quality friendships with those you connect with via Path.
The developers also mention that it makes it more likely that you’ll post content on Path, because you’ll be more comfortable with those 150 close friends than with 2,000 friends of varying quality. You may end up liking this feature over time.
App.net is perhaps most famous Twitter alternative of them all. It’s very similar to Twitter as it works on the same mechanics, but its character limit is higher — 256 rather than 140. Additionally, you can create a “Broadcast Channel” which others can subscribe to. This way, you can keep your personal posts to your account, and any posts related to the topic of the Broadcast Channel can be sent out through it.
App.net also has multiple apps for mobile and desktop — be sure to look at the list to find your favorite ones.
All five of these services have been around for years, and offer their own unique features and characteristics when compared to Twitter. If you’re not fond of Twitter, it’s likely that you can find a comfortable home with one of these alternatives.
Which of these is your favorite social network? Any other alternatives that should have been added to this list? Let us know in the comments!