Twitter has been a bit of a mess since billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk took the helm, cutting the company’s workforce in half, upending the platform’s verification systemsparring with users Overjokes and acknowledging “ dumb things ” might happen as he reshapes one of the world’s most high-profile information ecosystems.

On Thursday, amid an exodus of senior executives responsible for data privacy, cybersecurity and complying with regulations, he warned the company’s remaining employees that Twitter might not survive if it can’t find a way to bring in at least half its revenue from subscriptions.

While it’s not clear if the drama is causing many users to leave — in fact, having a front-row seat to the chaos may prove entertaining to some — lesser-known sites Mastodon and even Tumblr are emerging as new (or renewed) alternatives. Here’s a look at some of them.

You can download your Twitter history by clicking on your profile settings. “your account” Then “download an archive of your data.”)

MASTODON

Mastodon, whose name is shared with an extinct mammal that resembles an elephant, has been a leader among those who are curious about the life beyond the bluebird. It shares some similarities with Twitter, but there are some big differences — and not just that its version of tweets are officially called “toots.”

Mastodon is a social network that’s decentralized. That means it’s not owned by a single company or billionaire. Rather, it’s made up of a network of servers, each run independently but able to connect so people on different servers can communicate. Mastodon does not have ads because it is funded entirely by donations, grants, and other sources.

Mastodon’s feed is chronological, unlike Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or Twitter, which all use algorithms to get people to spend as much time on a site as possible.

Mastodon registration can be daunting. Because each server is run separately, you will need to first pick one you want to join, then go through the steps to create an account and agree with the server’s rules. There are general and interest- and location-based ones, but in the end it won’t really matter. Once you’re in, the feed is reminiscent of Twitter. You can write up to 500 characters, post photos and videos, as well as follow accounts.

“We present a vision of social media that cannot be bought and owned by any billionaire, and strive to create a more resilient global platform without profit incentives,” Mastodon’s website says.

The site currently has over 1 million users. Nearly half of them signed up after Musk took Twitter over on Oct. 27, according To founder Eugen Rochko.

Another option, Counter Social, also runs an ad-free, chronological social platform that’s funded by users. Counter Social claims it blocks access from Russia, China Iran, North Korea and Pakistan in order to prevent foreign influence operations. It claims to offer translations in just one click into more than 80 languages. It boasts more than 63,000,000 monthly users, according its website.

CLUBHOUSE

Remember Clubhouse, back when we were all under lockdown and couldn’t talk in person? It’s the buzzy audio-only app that got somewhat overshadowed by copycat Twitter Spaces, which also lets people talk to each other (think conference call, podcast or “audio chat”() About topics of interest.

Clubhouse allows you to start or listen in on conversations about a variety of topics such as tech, pro sports, parenting and Black literature. There are no posts, photos or videos — only people’s profile pictures and their voices. Conversations can be intimate like a phone conversation, or they might involve thousands of people listening to the talk by boldface names like a conference, stage interview, or conference call.

SUBSTACK AND MEDIUM

These sites may be the closest to the blog era, which was popular in the 2000s for long reads, newsletters, or general information absorption. Both can be read without signing up, although some podcasters, writers, and creators create premium content for subscribers.

TUMBLR

Tumblr was all but left for deadIt seems that the site is experiencing a revival. The words/photos/art/video site is known for its devoted fan base and has been home to angry posts from celebrities like Taylor Swift. In 2018, porn was banned, which angered many users. “adult content,” This was a major part of the site’s highly visual and meme-friendly online presence, which led to a significant drop in its user base.

Onboarding is simple, and for those who miss the early years of social media, there’s a decidedly retro, comforting feel to the site.

T2 or TBD

Gabor Cselle, an experienced Google employee who worked at Twitter between 2014 and 2016, is determined to build a better Twitter. For now, he’s calling it T2 and says the Web domain name he purchased for it — t2.social — cost $7.16. T2, which could or may not be the final name of the website, is currently accepting signups to its waitlist. However, it is not yet functional.

“I think Twitter always had a problem in figuring out what to do and how to decide on what to do. And that was always kind of in the back of my mind,” Cselle stated this to The Associated Press. “On Monday, I decided to just go for it. I didn’t see anyone else really doing it.”

One idea is to use Twitter-style text with TikTok style videos. Cselle says that text is essential for this method to work. “amped up” so it’s not drowned out by the videos.

“My bet is that it’s going to be easier and more efficient to build a better Twitter or public square now than fix the legacy problems at Twitter,” Cselle added.

Cselle isn’t the only one who sees the opportunity. Project Mushroom is one example. “safe place on the internet — a community-led open-source home for creators seeking justice on an overheating planet” According to the company, it has received over 25,000 early signups for its yet-to launch platform.

“My sense is that things are going to further fragment into more ideological platforms and some will die and then we’ll see some new consolidation emerge over the next couple of years,” Jennifer Stromer Galley, a Syracuse University professor who studies the social media, said so.

NEWS SITES

One of Twitter’s most valuable features has been the way it allows people to find information within seconds. Is that an earthquake? Twitter will confirm. Or it did.

Twitter is still the best news source, but it’s easier to keep up with national, international and local news. Both Google and Apple both offer news services which aggregate articles from a wide range of publications. Google has more articles, while Apple offers a premium subscription that gives you access to more. There’s also Flipboard, which works kind of like a personal magazine curated to your interests.

Of course, subscribing to individual publications (or downloading a free news app such as the AP’s AP News) is also an option.

Yes, you might have to pay for some of them and no, you won’t get a blue check mark with your subscription.