A rising tide lifts all boats. When one of these boats belongs to Elon Musk, the tide rises quickly.
Recently, the Truth Social app rose to the top of the App Store. While Donald Trump himself may not have much to do with it (he posted on the booming social network just recently, although the Truth Social app suddenly became popular long before that) , it is obvious that the new popularity is linked to the purchase of Twitter by Elon Musk.
This last sentence is still a bit difficult to grasp. Wait what? The fact that Elon Musk was able to orchestrate such a takeover, and that Twitter’s board agreed to go along with it, remains the biggest news in tech and will remain so for months to come.
Perhaps the second biggest surprise this year will be that the Truth Social app is popular, at least for now. It’s now the most popular app in the Apple App Store, closely followed by Twitter in second place so far.
I wrote about Truth Social recently after finally gaining access and being able to try out some of the features. I wasn’t too impressed. It’s basically Twitter without the large user base. Truth Social seems to have around two million active users, because that’s Trump’s follower count and you’d expect all active users to follow him. Twitter has about 300 million. Guess Trump waited until the app became more popular to post to avoid making it look like his campaign app.
So, you might be wondering why Truth Social has gained traction lately.
My theory is that there is a rising tide of users who want to share their opinions without having to deal with a biased content filter. I’m not going to play politics on this subject, although as a journalist I’m all for open and fair dialogue. I also think most social media channels are filled with trolls and tend to provide an outlet for misinformation. I hope Twitter will become less content focus and more restrictive on users the same time. And then there is the social truth.
Initially, users didn’t really flock to the new app. Part of the reason is that they couldn’t even use it. I’m one of many early adopters who tried to create an account and ended up on a long wishlist. As we all know in tech, it’s hard to get excited about something you can’t even access. After waiting a month or two, most of us just moved on.
When news of Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter first broke, it raised openness again, and my theory is that there’s pent-up demand for an app that won’t filter your perspectives.
I don’t know if Truth Social is the best app for this because what I’ve seen so far is that there are mostly Trump supporters posting about Trump. It’s really more like a political ad campaign under the guise of an open discussion platform.
Meanwhile, the Twitter takeover continues to grab headlines. I use the BuzzSumo app to follow hot topics, and Musk buying Twitter has been the main story all week.
As long as the topic of open social networks remains in the minds of users, Truth Social will continue to be popular. As news about the Twitter takeover fades, I suspect app downloads for Truth Social will also fade.
Or maybe they won’t. I hope this new interest in less biased content filtering and more protection against misuse and misinformation will lead to a healthier social media climate. Whether it’s on Twitter or an alternative doesn’t really matter to me.