Twitter Rival Pebble (Formerly T2) Announces Shutdown


Pebble, a startup that aimed to rival Twitter and was previously known as T2, has announced that it is shutting down. The company, which had grown a small but engaged community on its microblogging service, was unable to compete with the strong grip that Twitter has on the market. Pebble’s app had reached a maximum of 3,000 daily active users out of its 20,000 registered users, and following its rebranding from T2, this figure dropped to 1,000 daily users.

Key Takeaway

Pebble, the Twitter alternative previously known as T2, is shutting down due to strong competition from Twitter and other Twitter rivals. Despite having a small but engaged community, Pebble struggled to gain traction in a crowded market for Twitter alternatives. Challenges such as positioning, lack of a native mobile app, and the rebranding from T2 may have hindered Pebble’s success. The founders, however, see this as an important turning point for the role that social media plays in our lives.

Challenges from Twitter Rivals

According to co-founder and CEO Gabor Cselle, the competition in the market for Twitter alternatives evolved faster than Pebble had anticipated. Established organizations and newcomers were trying to do the same thing in similar ways. The market for Twitter alternatives is crowded, with various services for consumers to try, including Mastodon, an open-source-based platform, Bluesky’s soon-to-be decentralized system, and smaller startups like Spill, Spoutible, and Post. Furthermore, Meta recently launched its own Twitter alternative called Instagram Threads. Despite the challenges, Twitter itself still holds significant influence as the default platform for short posts.

Pebble’s Initial Success and Hypothesis

Despite the hurdles, Pebble initially showed promise. The company had decent retention rates, with 30% by the fourth week. Additionally, 60% of people who received a Pebble invite converted to become users. Pebble’s hypothesis was that consumers were seeking a Twitter alternative that prioritized trust, safety, and moderation from the beginning. Pebble’s founding team included co-founder Sarah Oh, who was formerly Twitter’s human rights advisor, emphasizing these principles.

Positioning and Challenges

Pebble believed in its approach to moderation, as it aimed to create a safe and kinder platform where users could speak openly without facing attacks or harassment. However, the founders now acknowledge that they may have positioned Pebble too far into “kindness” territory, potentially missing out on the authentic content that users seek. The lack of a native mobile app and the rebranding from T2 to Pebble may have also impacted Pebble’s traction in the market.

The Shutdown Process

Pebble will be shutting down its website on November 1st, and users will have the option to export their Pebble archive as a zip file. The founders will not be directing users to any other social network. The small amount of funds left over will be returned to investors as a gesture of financial responsibility. While the future of the IP remains uncertain, the founders do not regret their experience building Pebble and plan to take what they have learned to potentially work on something new in the future.

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