By Lori Perkins
I used to love Twitter. It was my social media vehicle of choice. I’ve been on Twitter since 2012 and probably Tweet at least 20 times a day, sharing articles I’ve read that I believe would be interesting to others, and/or retweeting information I learn online that I want to share. I’ve “met” amazing people on Twitter who I would never even know existed if it weren’t for the platform, and I’ve received answers to bizarre questions that not even Goggle could understand. I get news (especially of disaster and celebrity death) moments after it happens.
But I’ve also been stunned or shell-shocked by the hate and vitriol that often comes at me when I open the platform in the morning to see what’s happening. It often makes me leave the site quickly, instead of engaging, because I just don’t have the patience.
So I was glad to read that Christopher Bouzy, a Black tech entrepreneur, was working on a Twitter alternative almost immediately after the Musk take-over. I saw him on the Harry and Meghan documentary where he talked about how he was able to track the racist anti-Meghan chatter on social media, so I felt he knew what he was doing, and his political and social affiliations didn’t offend me. I thought it might be refreshing to have someone who was not a white male run one of these sites.
I signed up for the beta test, which launched the first week of February. We were told that there were 200,000 people on almost immediately.
Unlike some of the alternative sites (Mastadon), it was easy to understand and navigate, as it really does resemble Twitter. It even has the same blue and white scheme (there is a “dark” mode, which I use to immediately distinguish the two sites on my laptop). Instead of a blue bird the mascot is a whale. Instead of Tweets, you Spout.
I’ve been on the site for a few days, and have already engaged with a number of carry-over peeps from Twitter, but I’ve also already met new people whose voices I would never have heard on Twitter. I can also follow up to 1,000 people (maybe more, but I don’t know the limit), whereas I have already exceeded my Twitter follow amount and can no longer follow anyone back because that number is tied to the amount of people following you, and I am shedding followers daily as people flee that site.
The site just opened to the general public this morning (Bouzy mentioned that he wanted to turn it on as part of a celebration of of Black History Month). There have been occasional moments when the site is slow to load, but overall, it has been a delight. Right now it feels like I have arrived to a Members Only preview at an awesome hip art museum and I am running into celebrities and fellow connoisseurs around every corner.
The other great news is that there is calm. No one is yelling at each other.
So I will definitely be spouting. I hope I’ll see you there!