Building a Better Twitter: A Study of the Twitter Alternatives GNU Social, Quitter, rstat.us, and Twister
22 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2015
Date Written: April 16, 2015
Drawing on interviews with developers and close readings of site interfaces and architectures, this essay explores four Twitter alternatives: GNU social, Twister, rstat.us and Quitter. The interviews and analyses of these Twitter alternatives reveals how these developers relate their projects to mainstream social media architectures and cultures; how they conceive of Twitter's development over time; how they think about legal issues as they make their alternatives; and whether or not they conceive of their work as activism. In sum, I explore how these developers are critically reverse engineering Twitter and how that process intersects with multiple concerns and tensions, and how these tensions are generating new ways to think about what it means to 'do' microblogging.
Keywords: alternative social media, critical reverse engineering, Twitter, Twister, rstat.us, Gnu social, Quitter
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