Since Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, the door has somewhat been opened for new social networks of the same ilk to gain a foothold in the market. One competitor that arose in 2022 was Pebble, but it has now confirmed to its users that it is shutting down its service as investment has started to dry up. Twitter itself is experiencing a downturn in numbers so where does that leave the battle for top spot?
Pebble was founded by two former Twitter employees, Gabor Cselle who left in 2016, and Sarah Oh, who was let go in the first round of layoffs after Musk’s takeover. The company was able to quickly secure $1.1 million in funding, but after attracting only a small userbase, as low as 15,000, the company has wound up the project. It said in a statement to Mashable:
“We have some sad news to share with you today: as of November 1, 2023, Pebble will be shutting down. We are immensely proud of what our team and our community have accomplished together, and we feel validated that our vision for Pebble proved true. The painful truth, however, is that we were not growing quickly enough for investors to believe that we will break out.”
No doubt there is room for a new social app to replace the role of Twitter, (sorry, X). The number of those engaging with the platform are on the downturn since the takeover. Traffic to Twitter was 14 per cent down this September compared to last year. Alternatives such as the meta backed Threads, and the Jack Dorsey (founder of Twitter) endorsed BluSky are continuing to grow. BlueSky, while invite only still, has 1,7 million users.
What we are seeing with the new platforms is the trend towards smaller experiences. It mirrors the explosion of social discovery apps. BlueSky in particular, is much smaller, but lets people keep their circles smaller and more manageable. Fewer but more deep connections, than the world of Twitter where number of followers seem to be everything. The battle for the Twitter like experience will keep raging on, its no surprise to see some drop out of the race, such as Pebble.