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What is Hive Social? The viral Twitter alternative, explained

Hive Social is a mobile-only social media app that lets you post messages, videos, polls, and more to a chronological feed of followers.
Text that says “Socialize on Hive,” surrounded by floating iPhones, each displaying the Hive Social app.
Hive Social, also known just as "Hive," is blowing up in popularity.
Hive Social
  • Hive Social is a mobile-only social media app that's become a popular Twitter alternative.
  • Like Twitter, Hive Social lets you post messages, videos, polls, and more to a chronological feed of followers.
  • You can join Hive Social using your email address, phone number, or a Google or Apple account.

Twitter has had a tumultuous year, and users are starting to seek other options. One of the most popular Twitter alternatives to crop up lately is Hive Social.

Hive Social is a mobile-only platform that's trying to recreate Twitter without any of the algorithms. Although it's been around for a few years, it took until late November 2022 for it to explode in popularity.

Here's how to sign up for Hive Social and how it works.

What is Hive Social?

At first glance, Hive Social doesn't do anything particularly special. You can follow other users, and post messages or pictures. It's incredibly similar to Twitter.

The biggest difference between the two is that Hive Social claims to have no algorithms deciding which posts you see. In other words, your feed shows you posts exclusively in the order that they were posted — it's totally chronological. This is in contrast to other platforms like Twitter, which analyze your interests and daily schedule to prioritize posts the app thinks you'll like.

There aren't any blue checkmarks, and users can't pay to boost their posts. It's just about when the posts go up. You can also Repost others' content to your own feed, or Like posts to save them for later.

Your Hive Social feed is sorted in chronological order.
Hive Social

You can also customize your Hive profile in a few cool ways. Like Twitter, you can add a profile picture and cover photo. But you can also pick a color theme that all of your profile's buttons will match, and a song that'll play when people visit — it's a real MySpace throwback.

This is in addition to pronoun badges, astrology signs, and more coming in future updates. You can also post NSFW content, as long as it's tagged correctly.

Who owns Hive Social?

As of this writing, Hive Social is owned, built, and operated by only two people. However, their identities are a secret.

Hive Social's website says that the platform was created by someone named "Raluca," and is currently run by her and an unnamed developer. 

In an interview from 2021, a woman named Kassandra Pop claimed that she founded the app, meaning that she might be Raluca. But it's all pretty unclear right now.

How to join Hive Social

Unlike most social media platforms, you can only use Hive on your phone. The developers claim that a website will launch eventually, but right now, you'll need to download the Hive Social app on your iPhone or Android.

Launch the app and tap Create an Account, then choose how you want to sign up. You can use your Google account, Apple account (if you're using an iPhone), your email address, or phone number. If you choose your email address or phone number, you'll also need to confirm your identity using a verification link or code.

Whichever option you choose, you'll then need to pick a display name and username. Your display name is what will appear the biggest on all your posts, while your username is a unique @ handle.

Note: Some Android users have reported bugs when signing up for a Hive account. If the app constantly tells you that the username you want is taken, no matter what you've entered, close the app and try again later.

Lastly, the app will ask you to choose some interests. Although your feed is chronological, these interests affect what suggestions you're shown on the app's Discover page.

You'll need to choose at least three interests.
Hive Social; William Antonelli/Insider

You've now got free reign to use Hive Social however you like.

To get started, check out the five icons at the bottom of the app's screen.

  • The far-left icon that looks like a beehive is your Feed. This is where posts from the people you follow will show up.
  • The magnifying glass icon is the Discover page, which lets you search for posts and other users.
  • The middle icon that looks like a plus sign is for making new posts.
  • The bell icon is your Notifications page.
  • The far-right icon shows your profile picture, and will take you to your profile page.

Your posts have no character limit, and you can add pictures, videos, GIFs, and polls. And if you tap the three dots above your phone's keyboard, you can mark the post as NSFW or choose who can see it.

You can change your post's privacy settings from this menu.
Hive Social; William Antonelli/Insider
William Antonelli
Tech Reporter for Insider Reviews
William Antonelli (he/she/they) is a writer, editor, and organizer based in New York City. As a founding member of the Reference team, he helped grow Tech Reference (now part of Insider Reviews) from humble beginnings into a juggernaut that attracts over 20 million visits a month. Outside of Insider, his writing has appeared in publications like Polygon, The Outline, Kotaku, and more. He's also a go-to source for tech analysis on channels like Newsy, Cheddar, and NewsNation. You can find him on Twitter @DubsRewatcher, or reach him by email at wantonelli@insider.com.
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