After Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover sparked a raft of copycats and alternatives, it was inevitable, at some stage, that the crowd would thin, as funding begins to dry up for these new services.
Pebble is pretty much an exact replica of the original Twitter format, though the Pebble team had prioritized user safety, and combating abuse and harassment within its development plans.
The view was that by addressing one of the key issues of Twitter, and building a more stable alternative to what’s now become X, that could be a viable pathway to building a new business. But low user interest has proven too much of an early hurdle for the startup to overcome.
As per Pebble:
“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: that purposeful growth, supported by a deep commitment to safety, can foster a beautiful online community full of vibrant human connection. The painful truth, however, is that we were not growing quickly enough for investors to believe that we will break out. Combine that with a crowded space of alternatives - and the uphill climb is even steeper. In order to continue to build out a complete Pebble, we would have needed more investment, and more time.”
Pebble, reportedly, has been serving around 3,000 daily active users, which is well below the threshold for a viable social app. And while conceptually the platform makes sense, in building with safety in mind, the arrival of Threads, and the comparative popularity of Bluesky and Mastodon has meant that there’s little room for another Twitter clone in the market.
Really, it does seem that Threads is best placed to challenge X, in terms of scale and reach, while smaller platforms will also likely fill a niche role as former Twitter users fragment. But they are indeed fragmenting, as Elon Musk’s changes at the app continue to alienate more user groups.
Does that mean that X, too, is on the way out?
Well, not yet, but as more segments of the app’s audience seek alternative options, that will eat into X’s usage, and make it a less desirable platform for advertisers, brands, etc.
Maybe Elon’s grand plan will still come together, but it does seem like the fragmentation of the former Twittersphere will eventually result in new homes being established for different user groups.
If you were a Pebble user, you can download your full Pebble archive here.