Six social networks to watch in 2022

While Facebook and Twitter continue to dominate the social media industry, an increasingly vocal minority has begun offering alternatives, often arguing the preeminent Big Tech platforms engage in censorship at the expense of a large swath of the market. Some of the following networks offer exciting and notable technological innovations worth investing in, while others hold a political or cultural weight that may make others hesitant.

Here are some apps to watch in 2022:

Rumble

Of all the conservative alternative networks that have arisen in recent years, Rumble appears to be having the most success. The video streaming service that presents itself as an alternative to YouTube went public in a $2.1 billion deal via a special purpose acquisition company, or a publicly traded company created to acquire or merge with an existing company, in early December. The CEO said the new funds represented “the next step in our evolution” and “will provide Rumble with the additional capital necessary to continue to scale and grow its business.”

The platform has seen its clicks grow immensely. Recorded visits in the United States to Rumble grew from about 200,000 in the last week of July 2020 to nearly 19 million this August — a 9,000% increase, according to the Washington Post. While these numbers are dwarfed by YouTube’s data, they mark a significant step up for any competitor in the video streaming market.

The network adopted a “Creator Economy” approach in August when it announced that it would pay conservative-friendly personalities like Tulsi Gabbard and Glenn Greenwald to host video content on its platform.

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MeWe

One notable development in recent months has been the reliance on private messaging groups. While some have turned to apps like WhatsApp, MeWe is particularly notable due to its appeal among pro-Trump conservatives.

“While it wasn’t started to house the right-wing audience, During the last Presidential elections, Facebook and Twitter hemorrhaged Trump supporters looking for ‘unbiased’ platforms with little to no restrictions and censorship,” Chris Tompkins, Go! Agency’s founder, told the Washington Examiner. ” Thus, MeWe turned into a version of Parler for this audience. While they are not focusing on ads, the users are highly engaged.”

And MeWe realizes it. The subscription-based messaging service, which serves as a direct messaging alternative platform, sought funding last summer to expand its servers. The app has become a pertinent tool for organizers in Hong Kong, and it boasted 18 million users as of April.

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Twitter Spaces

Twitter’s decision to host audio rooms such as Clubhouse on its platform has been met with success. Twitter Spaces’s use of Clubhouse’s ideas has benefited the live audio app, which drew attention in early 2021 with a surging userbase. Clubhouse eventually lost its sheen as every tech company from Facebook to Reddit began to incorporate live audio into its software.

“Twitter Spaces is a platform to watch in 2022, as it will likely tell us whether this is the beginning or the end of audio-first social platforms and features in the social landscape,” Justin Kerby, founder of Something Great Marketing, told the Washington Examiner. “Spaces is a Clubhouse copy, but it comes to us with Twitter’s built-in audience, so it should be fairly easy to determine whether this kind of publishing is a zero or a hero.”

Clubhouse has seen its numbers dip significantly, while Twitter Spaces has developed a larger following. However, some have grown concerned about the platform’s future after Spaces was used by pro-Taliban organizers and white supremacists as a way to organize meetings.

GETTR

Apple’s decision to remove conservative social network Parler, which appealed to disillusioned Facebook and Twitter users, from its App Store killed a significant interest in the social network, opening up a market opportunity for former Trump official Jason Miller’s GETTR. A spokesperson from app analytics company Appfigures claimed that Parler “has lost most momentum since January,” while GETTR has seen downloads spike on the Google App Store.

Miller confirmed the rising interest in his platform, telling the Washington Examiner in November that it had an estimated 3 million members and 400,000 daily users.

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Truth Social 

The much-anticipated, Trump-affiliated social network was announced in October and reportedly received more than $1 billion in investments through a SPAC. While the app promised to release a beta by November, the network has taken no publicly known actions as of December.

It remains unclear when Trump Media & Technology Group will release its first product, leaving some wondering whether the company is a scam or a mirage for financial purposes. The site is also facing potential legal action from the creators of the software running the website, which has also been used to help raise funds for Republican campaigns in 2022.

If Truth Social can get up and running, it could provide a significant competitor in the alternate social media economy.

Discord

The private server-based forums saw a surge in popularity in 2020 and 2021, with an estimated 100 million users worldwide. While Discord initially started as a platform for gamers to gather and talk, it soon became a tool for everything from cryptocurrency to work to organizing politics on the Right and Left.

The company intends to expand beyond the gamer demographic after raising $100 million in 2020 and offers opportunities to focus on smaller communities over more extensive networks of individuals.

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While these networks do show promise, they are unquestionably dwarfed by the vastness of Facebook and Twitter. Tech trends are prone to shift quickly, with some startups struggling to find a large enough market to make an impact in the long term.

Still, for those interested in where social media may be shifting, these burgeoning alternative networks warrant monitoring in 2022.