Social Media Showdown: Mastodon vs. Threads vs. BlueSky vs. X (Twitter)

Rhett Allain
4 min readOct 13, 2023

I’m clearly not a tech-expert. But I’ve been using social media for quite some time. As you probably know, a lot of people are jumping off the Twitter (X) platform to something else. But where should you go? Should you go? What other questions are there?

Of course I don’t have the best answers, but it might be useful (and even fun) to look at some of the options. Let’s get to it.

Twitter X

I guess I have to start with X (I think that is a dumb name). I remember my friends made me get on Twitter in 2008. We were going to use it as a replacement for AIM — AOL Instant Messnger (which I think had recently died or something). Yes, AIM and Twitter are very different. It was a mistake to try to use Twitter as a group chat. Oh well.

But after a few years, I found Twitter to be an acceptable replacement for RSS feeds — back in the good blogging days where we had RSS and comments. It was fun. Twitter gave a place to post blogs and find new stuff.

Of course now, things are just getting weird. No titles on news posts, the verified thing is weird and there are bots everywhere. Who knows how much longer it will last, but it’s not looking good.

So, what’s good about X (Twitter)? For me, it’s the group of accounts that I follow. I like that group. They are my internet friends. I don’t want to leave them. Oh, I also used to have at least a little bit of pull on that platform. I was followed by some significant people — and that was cool. It was even to the point where I could ask a question on Twitter and get useful feedback very quickly.

Dear Elon, please make people pay to use X so it will encourage me to just completely leave. That would be great. Thanks.

Mastodon

I don’t have much experience with these other platforms, so I’m just going to describe the positives and negatives of each service.

What’s good about Mastodon? For me, it feels like the best place to have a conversation. For some reason, I have a nice group of mostly science and physics educators that I follow. If I post a question, it seems to generate a nice discussion (or at least has the potential for a discussion).

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Rhett Allain

Physics faculty, science blogger of all things geek. Technical Consultant for CBS MacGyver and MythBusters. WIRED blogger.