The echoes of Twitter, now rebranded as X, resound louder than expected, claiming its first casualty in the realm of Twitter alternatives. Pebble, previously known as T2, is calling it quits. Despite growing a small, engaged community on its microblogging service, Pebble faced an uphill battle against its mighty competitor. The startup aimed to emulate Twitter’s features, including verification systems and DM functionality.
Unfortunately, Pebble ran out of time to realize its vision. With a maximum of 3,000 daily active users out of 20,000 registered users, the platform struggled to gain significant traction. Even following a rebranding from T2, daily user figures plummeted to 1,000 users.
Gabor Cselle, Pebble’s Co-founder and CEO, pointed to the swift evolution of the competitive landscape as a primary factor in their demise. The market for Twitter alternatives is now saturated with platforms like Mastodon, Bluesky, Spill, Spoutible, Post, and even Meta’s Instagram Threads.
Despite initial positive signs, such as decent retention and a successful invite system, Pebble faced challenges standing out in a crowded market. The founders believed in prioritizing trust, safety, and moderation, even if these values didn’t translate into substantial growth.
However, Pebble’s commitment to creating a safer space may have inadvertently positioned it too far into the “kindness” territory. The founders acknowledge that perhaps allowing more space for disagreement while maintaining a strong stance on moderation could have been a better approach.
Several factors, including the absence of a native mobile app, the rebranding from T2 to Pebble, and competition from Twitter’s enduring network effect, contributed to Pebble’s struggle. Reflecting on their experience, the founders express gratitude for the journey, despite its unexpected end.
They hint at the possibility of staying together to work on something new, armed with valuable lessons from the Pebble experience. As Pebble winds down, early adopters can export their archives, showcasing the platform’s journey before it officially shuts down on November 1st. The founders, while facing uncertainty about their next move, don’t regret attempting to carve a new path in the evolving landscape of social media.