Following the takeover of Twitter by Elon Musk, users leaked to other social apps like Mastodon open-source microblogging platform and niche communities like CounterSocial. Now another social app called Hive is see a boost registrations in response to the Twitter upheaval. The app finds itself in the top 20 of the US App Store today after seeing renewed interest over the weekend as the situation on Twitter continues to evolve.
Founded in 2019 by a 22 year old Cassandra Pop, Hive is not a direct clone of Twitter. Instead, the Gen Z-focused social app was featured in a Profile Teen Vogue last year as combining concepts from various social networks, including Instagram and Twitter and even MySpace – the latter thanks to a feature that allows Hive users to add music to their profiles, among other things.
The app is also not purely timeline-based, like Twitter is. In addition to the main feed, Hive users can explore their interests through a range of themed communities, such as science, technology, cars, music, fashion, pets, crafts, books, travel, games, art, food and many more. Here, users can like, comment, and repost shared content, like on other social networks, as well as click on hashtags for further reading.
In some ways Hive may feel more comfortable for old Twitter users looking for a new home, as the app has a simple and familiar set of navigation options – there are tabs to display the timeline or the main feed, a “Discover” section to explore the social network, a tab to access your profile, and another for your notifications for example. In the center there is a button to create a new post.
Hive also uses the same follower-based model as Twitter, as opposed to the mutual friendship model you’ll find on a network like Facebook.
However, unlike most social networks, Hive eschews personalization algorithms in favor of a chronological feed and does not monetize using ads. Instead, Hive offers users the option to pay to unlock additional slots that allow them to showcase more of their favorite music on their profile. These range from $0.99 for a second slot to $1.99 for a third or fourth slot, the app’s App Store listing says.
Hive gained traction in the weeks leading up to Musk’s acquisition of Twitter and the days after. According to data from app intelligence firm Sensor Tower, around 214,000 of Hive’s 733,000 lifetime installs on iOS and Android came in the last 30 days alone. It’s worth noting that Hive appears to have caught the eye of those outside the US — its non-US installs account for about 86% of Hive’s total downloads, Sensor Tower said.
Data.ai’s estimates are largely in line with Sensor Tower’s, as it predicts more than 720,000 lifetime installs as of November 20, but a higher number – 370,000 – coming from the United States.
The app saw a further surge in registrations starting on Friday and continuing through the weekend.
It may not be a coincidence, it was back then Musk has decided to welcome back former President Donald Trump to Twitter by unlocking their account. Although Trump has yet to tweet, saying if he prefers his own Truth Social app, it seems Musk’s decision was enough to encourage even more Twitter users to seek out alternatives as they consider jumping ship.
Data from Sensor Tower indicates that Hive has gained approximately 144,000 new installs over the past few days (Friday, November 18 to Sunday, November 20, 2022). 22,000 of those installs were from the United States alone, he says. During this time, the app also went from the #338 overall iPhone app on the US App Store to the #17 app today. In the UK it is No. 17 and No. 24 in Canada.
The app was also the No. 3 app in the social media category in the US at the time of writing, Sensor Tower said.
According to Hive’s TikTok posts, the app crashed over the weekend as another 80,000 people signed up to check it out. Since this morning, Hive’s Twitter account reported the app now has “nearly 900,000” registered users in total. (This number doesn’t exactly match Sensor Tower’s download estimates, but third-party data isn’t an exact science.)
@officialhivesocial HOW TO LOSE 44 BILLION IN ONE MONTH?? Either way, join Hive, link in bio🐝 #riptwitter #goodbyetwitter #twittershutdown #twitterdown #elontwitter #ElonMusk #hivesocial ♬ original sound – Hive Team🐝💛
This weekend isn’t the first time Hive has seen an influx of new users. The app also saw a brief surge in downloads in February 2021, when it saw 439,000 new installs, 64% of which came from the United States, according to data from Sensor Tower. This increase can be attributed to the founder’s decision to pay a TikTok influencer to create a video, which resulted in some 250,000 installs within days. she claimed to press at the time.
Hive’s appeal may not just be due to its blend of social media concepts or its ease of use compared to signing up for Mastodon, which has confused some potential users who don’t understand how choosing a server or what “federates” means. As with BeReal, Gen Z seems more drawn to new social networks run by independent founders, not launched by big tech brands.
The app was previously spotted fundraising on WeFunder but made no official fundraising announcement. (The app, which is available at Hivesocial.app, should not be confused with the older Hive Social app, previously hosted at hivesocial.com and promoted by “The Bachelorette” contestant Peter Kraus.)
We had trouble finding Hive on Twitter via search, where it ranked #30 for a search of the keywords “hive social” (no quotes) and didn’t show up at all if you searched for “hive app “. Go! The app’s actual Twitter account is “@TheHIVE_Social“, but even a search for “thehive_social” specifically returns only the founder’s twitter account (Raluca is his Romanian name).
Hive had not responded to requests for comment at the time of publication. Shortly after, Kassandra Pop responded with the most recent metrics to date, Nov. 21, 2022, 12:52 p.m. PT. She said registrations since Thursday night have topped 400,000 and the app currently has 998,000 users.
Update: As of 4 p.m. ET, the app hit one million users, she said. The title has been updated to reflect this change.