What I want is for someone to tell me what to do. Maybe you want this, too.
With so many new, or newly sad, social media apps, how do you know if Threads, Bluesky or Mastodon are for you?
What if you like TikTok but fear that your vibe (or age) is more Facebook?
With advice from three expert posters, I assembled a highly subjective but absolutely correct guide to which social media app fits your tastes and needs.
Is this dumb? Absolutely.
But there's wisdom here, too, for normies and lurkers, for people who want to build a social media following and for everyone in between.
For those of you shouting WHO CARES, all social media is trash. . . I hear you.
But hey, we're all hungry to find and nurture communities that we care about, or to stay informed about what matters to us. We can be open to social media as another way to find our people.
- The best app if you loved Twitter (now called X) but hate it now
Threads, according to Adam Rose, a.k.a. @realadamrose, a writer, actor and prolific social media poster with 4.5 million followers on TikTok and more than 100,000 on Threads.
"If you're like me and loved Twitter because it felt irreverent and the most current place to find the conversation around zeitgeist-y things happening right now," Rose said, "Threads has a very good shot at being the place for that."
He said when there was both a tropical storm and an earthquake in Southern California last weekend, Threads was the closest replacement he has found for the habit of swarming Twitter to ask, "Did you feel that earthquake, too?"
- The best app for oddballs (in a good way)
Bluesky, said Alex Falcone, a comedian who is active on TikTok, Threads, Instagram, Bluesky and more.
"It's a lot of funny and insightful people mixed in with drawings of wolves," he said.
Falcone said that on Bluesky, he sees many people who left Twitter under Elon Musk's ownership plus refugees from the Weird Twitter subculture.
Falcone cautioned that not many people are on Bluesky. Don't go there if you need validation.
"My most successful post on Bluesky was about how if I get four likes on Bluesky, I feel like a god," Falcone said. (That post has six likes.)
- The best app if you want people to be nice
LinkedIn, according to Selena Rezvani, who posts on LinkedIn, TikTok and Instagram about navigating the workplace with confidence.
Rezvani, a speaker and consultant on leadership, said people are on LinkedIn for feel-good stories of career revivals, unlikely successes and advice for self-improvement.
And the consequences of being a jerk are high. "There is more consciousness and civility, generally speaking. Because potentially your employer is watching," she said.
Rose and Falcone said they find TikTok comments to be kind and playful, with people eager to riff on what you posted. TikTok is the only app where you shouldread the comments, they said.
Rezvani said Instagram has the most kind comments.
Your mileage may vary. Like any place populated by humans, LinkedIn, Instagram and TikTok can also be horrible.
- The best app if you're worried about being bad at posting
Falcone said the stakes are low.
Because what you see on TikTok is tailored by computers and not whom you follow, it's possible to go from a nobody to briefly famous and back to a nobody again.
"If you had a Twitter thread go viral, weeks later you would still be getting hate mail," Falcone said. "On TikTok they'll love your cat video and never think about you again."
- What if you like TikTok but feel awkward and old there?
(I am asking this question for myself.)
Rezvani, who is 45 years old, said anyone can find their place on TikTok.
She said people on TikTok are eager for advice to better themselves. Rezvani has made TikToks about fawning less at work and encouraging people not to put off vacation days.
- The best way to make an app work for you
Falcone said each of us has the power to "coax the algorithm" to make our preferred version of an app.
If you don't love seeing dance videos on TikTok or thirsty brand posts on Threads, don't engage. If you dig that CEO's LinkedIn post, reply to it or follow a few Threads accounts you like.
The apps will take the hint and show you more of what you want.
- The best way not to get stuck with an app
The advice from the pros is don't be monogamous with any social media app.
If you have a favorite, try at least one more in case your first love fades into obscurity or turns toxic.
"Just incorporate one other platform and see what consistency brings you there," Rezvani advised.
She said she almost talked herself out of writing a LinkedIn newsletter, but she took a chance. The newsletter led to a great digital community and a book deal.
Rose said he invested a lot of time in the social audio app Clubhouse, which has lost popularity and buzz. He doesn't regret it.
"I made sure during my time there to be pushing people to all my other socials," Rose said. (He's big on Instagram and YouTube, too.)
- The best way to deal with your failures
Falcone said he has spent six months making TikTok videos that bombed.
And then there was a video Falcone made in a couple of minutes, about how he lines up his bed pillows so his arm doesn't fall asleep when he spoons with his wife.
That video has 3 million views.
"I still have no idea what's going to work before I post it," he said. "The healthiest thing is to tell yourself that it's baseball and you're supposed to strike out most of the time."
- One tiny win
If you're new to a social media app, or are bored with people you follow, these are some suggestions for accounts to follow for fun or inspiration.
The sillier suggestions are from Falcone. The more practical ones are from Rezvani.
For tips on making crow friends and other avian science: Kaeli Swift (@corvidresearch)
The Spooky Lakes lady (@geodesaurus): Every October, the artist and teacher creates videos about, yes, spooky bodies of water.
For internet-savvy, relatable nerdery: Hank Green (@hankgreen1), who Falcone said is "so smart and you'll learn science things, but you'll also just get a feel for the platform." Also follow his brother, John Green.
For challenging social norms about what's considered professional: Pabel Martinez (@plurawl); also on LinkedIn and Instagram.
For "super delightful" magic: Siegfried and Joy (@siegfriedandjoy)
For New Zealand "girl math" (@fvhzm): This radio show has been posting clips about the (insulting) internet trend of justifying spending habits with twisted logic. (Wait, would Kiwis call it girl "maths?")
For poking fun at old-timey videos: Dinosaur Dinner Theatre (@dinosaurdinnertheatre) offers Mystery Science Theater-esque commentary dubbed into strange educational films, like this one promoting a 1960s "kitchen of tomorrow."
For how to make everyone belong in workplaces: Ruchika Tulshyan (@rtulshyan; also on Instagram)
For no-holds-barred work advice: Chris Williams (@theCLWill; also on TikTok)
The Onion (@theonion): "Obviously," Falcone said.
Best of Dying Twitter (@bestofdyingtwitter and @jenntakahashi): Often the most vibrant conversations on newer text-based social apps like Threads are people dunking on Twitter, Falcone said.
The writer and actor Mara Wilson "follows the best people and reposts the best things from them, and it's just a delight," Falcone said. "Follow her and your timeline is instantly good.