These are the 13 best new social-media apps I downloaded this year in my work as a tech reporter — and why they're worth your time (2024)

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Analysis by Sydney Bradley

2023-12-19T21:26:13Z

These are the 13 best new social-media apps I downloaded this year in my work as a tech reporter — and why they're worth your time (1)

Screengrab/Sydney Bradley/Business Insider; Meta; Artifact; Landing; Retro; Nospace; Lex; Lapse; Shelf; ID by Amo
  • I'm a reporter covering social media and tech for Business Insider.
  • I've also been on the internet since I was a kid, so I have a lot of opinions when it comes to apps.
  • In 2023, I've downloaded well over two dozen social media apps — here are the ones I actually like.

I've downloaded a lot of apps this year.

There are two reasons I am fast to download any new social-media app. First, like many people, I am bored of the platforms I've been on for over a decade and I've even stopped posting on some — period. I wrote an entire story about this phenomenon earlier this year with my colleague Amanda Perelli. Second, it so happens my job requires that I am up to date on the latest social-media startups.

Luckily for me, 2023 was full of new social-media apps. The headlining apps of the year include Instagram's Twitter-killer Threads, ByteDance's Lemon8, and Lapse, one of the latest buzzy photo-sharing apps to grab the top spot on charts.

Beyond those bigger names, I've downloaded more than two dozen new social-media platforms. If it weren't for my iPhone about to max out its storage capacity, I'd probably download even more.

One app, Retro, has more or less replaced Instagram for me as my primary platform for posting photos. Founded by two former Instagram employees, Retro lets me upload photos and videos that are sorted by week. The app launched its own Spotify Wrapped-esque feature that lets users recap their 2023 uploads — which you can then share to apps like Instagram or TikTok. You can even mail a postcard with photos posted to Retro without leaving the app.

Another social-media platform that caught me by surprise was Landing, which launched in 2021 as a collaging website and released its mobile app this year. Having been an avid Polyvore user in my teens, when I finally learned how to utilize Landing's tools, I was sucked in and found myself returning to the feed and coming up with new collage ideas.

There are several recurring themes throughout these apps, too. Many of them advertise themselves as the antithesis of big-tech platforms like Instagram or Twitter — with slogans like Retro's "feel good social" or Lapse's "friends not followers." New ways of creating content are also popping up, like Landing's collages or ID by Amo's interactive, infinite feed that lets users drop photos, drawings, or links onto their friends' pages. And, almost every app is talking about "community."

Many of these apps have had luck raising venture capital this year, despite a tougher market. ID by Amo, for instance, raised a $18 million seed round this year ahead of its launch (its parent company, Amo, was founded by the former team behind social-mapping app Zenly, which was acquired and later shut down by Snapchat).

As you head into the new year, and perhaps itch to switch up your roster of social-media platforms, I've narrowed in on a handful of apps that have either been recommended to me by other startup founders or that I've discovered in the wild online.

Here are 13 of the best new social-media apps I've downloaded this year (sorted alphabetically):

Artifact recommends news articles using AI.

These are the 13 best new social-media apps I downloaded this year in my work as a tech reporter — and why they're worth your time (2)

Screengrab/Sydney Bradley/Business Insider

What it is: An AI-powered newsfeed, Artifact is a good replacement for your Twitter feed, or might appeal to you if you were ever an avid Pocket user. Cofounded by Instagram's founders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, Artifact delivers recommended news articles, as well as interactive features like badges and summaries.

When it launched: February

Why I haven't deleted it yet: Keeping track of all of the articles I read can get overwhelming, and Artifact is quite helpful for saving links or labeling them as "read later."

Canopy is a community app for content creators.

These are the 13 best new social-media apps I downloaded this year in my work as a tech reporter — and why they're worth your time (3)

Screenshot/Business Insider/Sydney Bradley; Canopy

What it is: Developed by Ayomi Samaraweera, a former staffer at TikTok and Jellysmack, Canopy is an app where content creators can anonymously share pay rates and experiences working with brands, and seek advice.

When it launched: October

Why I haven't deleted it yet: While Canopy is still technically in beta (the app is available for download through TestFlight and there is also a waitlist), it's a rich space full of honest content about the business of being a content creator or influencer in 2023.

Corner is a new way to keep track of your favorite places and bucket-list restaurants.

These are the 13 best new social-media apps I downloaded this year in my work as a tech reporter — and why they're worth your time (4)

Screenshot/Business Insider/Sydney Bradley; Corner

What it is: Yes, it's another restaurant reviews app —but wait! "Corner is a social map that turns your memories into recommendations you can share with friends," the description in Apple's app store reads. It lets users share links from across the internet and also has integrated AI tools to make finding the right spot for working from a cafe or going on a first date a little bit easier.

When it launched: October

Why I haven't deleted it yet: I found this app from my Apple App Store recommendations and immediately upon downloading and playing around with its features, recommended it to a friend of mine who had just moved to New York City.

Diem is a social-search platform for asking questions.

These are the 13 best new social-media apps I downloaded this year in my work as a tech reporter — and why they're worth your time (5)

Screenshot/Business Insider/Sydney Bradley; Diem

What it is: Remember Ask Jeeves? Well, Diem is a new twist on a question-focused search engine. Cofounded in 2020 by Emma Bates and Divia Singh, the platform shipped its full product to the public earlier this year. Users can input a question into the app and the AI will populate a high-level answer, offering users a deeper dive and a feed of relevant forums where real people are talking about similar topics.

When it launched: May

Why I haven't deleted it yet: I am one of those people who Google searches almost every thought that pops into their head (yes, I have a therapist, don't worry). With its added social layers, I'm curious to see how Diem evolves and what types of answers to life's biggest questions I'll see.

You can't scroll on ID by Amo — and that's the best part.

These are the 13 best new social-media apps I downloaded this year in my work as a tech reporter — and why they're worth your time (6)

Screenshot/Business Insider/Sydney Bradley; Amo

What it is: ID by Amo is an infinite grid where friends can "drop" photos, drawings, or links onto each other's pages. It's hard to describe in words, though that may be by design. It was founded by the team that made Zenly, a social-mapping app that was acquired by Snapchat in 2017.

When it launched: November

Why I haven't deleted it yet: The TikTok ads that ID was running worked on me and had me downloading it immediately. It's not the most user-friendly app, but I don't have another app like it at the moment, and that's a reason enough to keep it on my phone.

Lapse is another viral photo-sharing social-media app.

These are the 13 best new social-media apps I downloaded this year in my work as a tech reporter — and why they're worth your time (7)

Screenshot/Business Insider/Sydney Bradley; Lapse

What it is: Another buzzy social-media app, Lapse is a new way to share photos with friends. Similar to Dispo, the disposable-camera-inspired app cofounded by creator David Dobrik, Lapse lets users take photos and then it returns the photos later in the day with a grainy filter to look like a disposable 35mm camera. You can also share text posts and customize your profile to play a song.

When it launched: 2021, but it skyrocketed in popularity in September this year

Why I haven't deleted it yet: While Lapse hasn't totally won me over yet, I'm an avid film photographer, so any app that lets my iPhone pictures look more like film is a must for me.

Lex is a social network for LGBTQ+ communities.

These are the 13 best new social-media apps I downloaded this year in my work as a tech reporter — and why they're worth your time (8)

Screenshot/Business Insider/Sydney Bradley; Lex

What it is: Lex launched in 2019 as a queer dating app, but is now focused on connecting LGBTQ+ folks with new friends (you can still find dates there). The app experience is text-based, where people share plans, events, or missed connections. It raised a $5.6 million seed round this year, per TechCrunch.

When it launched: 2019

Why I haven't deleted it yet: As a 20-something living in a big city, I'm always on the hunt for apps that help me find IRL experiences. I downloaded the app after reading about its new focus on community this year.

Nospace is very similar to MySpace, but make it Gen Z.

These are the 13 best new social-media apps I downloaded this year in my work as a tech reporter — and why they're worth your time (9)

Screenshot/Business Insider/Sydney Bradley; Nospace

What it is: Nospace is a modern MySpace, complete with a top-eight feature. It's mostly text-based and your profile theme is customizable. It was founded by TZ Zhong, founder of Islands (a Web3 startup) and Pineapple Capital.

When it launched: September

Why I haven't deleted it yet: I actually never used MySpace as a kid, so this is my chance. The app's demographic feels young, and I'm my only friend on it as of now, but the option to update what I'm binging, listening to, and where I am traveling to next on my profile keeps me coming back.

You've definitely received a Partiful invite link, but have you downloaded the app?

These are the 13 best new social-media apps I downloaded this year in my work as a tech reporter — and why they're worth your time (10)

Screenshot/Business Insider/Sydney Bradley; Partiful

What it is: Partiful links have overtaken the invite experience. Its app makes the experience even more seamless and you can also find events you weren't even invited to with "open invite" events (a feature that can be toggled on and off for events, which lets mutual event attendees see each other's events).

When it launched: May (mobile app)

Why I haven't deleted it yet: Almost every event I get invites to these days is a Partiful link. I got sick of logging in each time in my browser, and its app solved that.

Retro is a new photo-sharing app founded by ex-Instagram employees.

These are the 13 best new social-media apps I downloaded this year in my work as a tech reporter — and why they're worth your time (11)

Screenshot/Business Insider/Sydney Bradley; Retro

What it is: While Instagram's original cofounders are ditching photos and opting for news, two former Instagram employees — Nathan Sharp and Ryan Olson — are building a new photo-sharing experience. Retro is a private, friends-only feed where you can post photos and videos from any given week.

When it launched: July

Why I haven't deleted it yet: Retro is the closest option I have found to sharing my literal iPhone camera roll with my friends — except this way, I can curate it and keep the embarrassing things to myself. I've found myself posting here more than Instagram. You can also choose which Retro icon you want on your home screen, for those who care about aesthetics.

Shelf is a way to display your interests in a simple link.

These are the 13 best new social-media apps I downloaded this year in my work as a tech reporter — and why they're worth your time (12)

Screenshot/Business Insider/Sydney Bradley; Shelf

What it is: Shelf is like a link-in-bio landing page, but instead of linking out to your other social-media pages, it's a summary of what you're currently listening to, reading, and watching. The app integrates apps like Goodreads, Spotify, and Apple Music, and plans to add Netflix, too.

When it launched: April

Why I haven't deleted it yet: There's a really neat feature where you can find other users with the same interests. Shelf is still pretty bare bones, but if it cracks its social interactions, I could see myself finding new friends through it.

Threads is Instagram's take on Twitter.

These are the 13 best new social-media apps I downloaded this year in my work as a tech reporter — and why they're worth your time (13)

Screenshot/Business Insider/Sydney Bradley; Instagram

What it is: Do I really need to explain what Threads is? If you haven't followed the tech news cycle in the last six months, it's pretty much Meta's attempt to capture the audience that X (formerly Twitter) has lost due to its various changes after Elon Musk's takeover.

When it launched: July

Why I haven't deleted it yet: Honestly, I just don't use X as much as I used to — and Instagram's not-so-sneaky ways of inserting Threads content in the Instagram app to get you scrolling through its text-based feed is quite effective.

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I'm an enthusiast with a deep understanding of social media and tech, having closely followed the evolution of digital platforms over the years. My expertise is grounded in both practical experience and a comprehensive knowledge of the industry's trends and dynamics.

Now, delving into the concepts mentioned in the article:

  1. Instagram's Twitter-killer Threads: Instagram Threads is a messaging app launched by Meta (formerly Facebook) in response to Twitter. It focuses on a more intimate and close-circle communication experience, particularly for sharing status updates, photos, and videos with a select group of friends.

  2. ByteDance's Lemon8: Although not extensively covered in the article, Lemon8 appears to be a social media app developed by ByteDance, the Chinese tech company known for TikTok. Unfortunately, the specific features and characteristics of Lemon8 are not detailed.

  3. Lapse - Viral photo-sharing social-media app: Lapse is highlighted as a photo-sharing app with a unique twist. Similar to Dispo, it allows users to take photos, and these photos are returned later in the day with a grainy filter to simulate the appearance of a disposable 35mm camera. It also features text posts and customizable profiles with the option to play a song.

  4. Retro - New photo-sharing app founded by ex-Instagram employees: Retro is positioned as a replacement for Instagram, founded by former Instagram employees Nathan Sharp and Ryan Olson. It offers a private, friends-only feed for sharing photos and videos sorted by week. The app also introduced a feature reminiscent of Spotify Wrapped, allowing users to recap their uploads from the year.

  5. Landing - Collaging website turned social media app: Landing, originally launched as a collaging website in 2021, released its mobile app in the same year. It offers tools for creating collages, and the author mentions being drawn in by the platform's features and finding inspiration for new collage ideas.

  6. ID by Amo - Infinite grid for friends to share photos, drawings, or links: ID by Amo is described as an infinite grid where friends can drop photos, drawings, or links onto each other's pages. The app aims to provide a unique social media experience and was founded by the team behind Zenly, a social-mapping app acquired by Snapchat.

  7. Canopy - Community app for content creators: Canopy is an app where content creators can anonymously share pay rates and experiences working with brands. Developed by Ayomi Samaraweera, a former staffer at TikTok and Jellysmack, it serves as a platform for content creators to seek advice and share insights into the business of being an influencer.

  8. Artifact - AI-powered newsfeed: Artifact is positioned as an AI-powered newsfeed cofounded by Instagram's founders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. It delivers recommended news articles and includes interactive features like badges and summaries, providing an alternative to traditional social media feeds or news aggregators.

  9. Corner - Social map for sharing favorite places and recommendations: Corner is described as a social map that turns users' memories into recommendations for friends. It allows users to share links from across the internet and features integrated AI tools to make finding the right spot for various activities, such as working from a cafe or going on a first date, easier.

  10. Diem - Social-search platform for asking questions: Diem is characterized as a question-focused search engine where users can input a question, and the AI will provide a high-level answer. It also offers a feed of relevant forums where real people are discussing similar topics, adding a social layer to the search experience.

  11. Lex - Social network for LGBTQ+ communities: Lex, initially launched as a queer dating app in 2019, has evolved to focus on connecting LGBTQ+ individuals with new friends. The app experience is text-based, allowing people to share plans, events, or missed connections within the community.

  12. Nospace - Modern MySpace for Gen Z: Nospace is described as a modern MySpace with a Gen Z twist, featuring a customizable text-based profile and a top-eight feature. Founded by TZ Zhong, it aims to capture a younger demographic and offers users the ability to share personal preferences on their profiles.

  13. Partiful - Event link-sharing app: Partiful is presented as an app that facilitates event link-sharing. It has features like "open invite" events, allowing users to discover and attend events they weren't initially invited to. The app aims to streamline the event-invitation experience and make it more seamless.

  14. Shelf - Display interests in a simple link: Shelf is likened to a link-in-bio landing page but focuses on summarizing what users are currently listening to, reading, and watching. It integrates with apps like Goodreads, Spotify, and Apple Music, with plans to add Netflix in the future.

  15. Threads - Instagram's take on Twitter: Threads is described as Instagram's response to Twitter, positioned as Meta's attempt to capture the audience that Twitter lost due to various changes after Elon Musk's takeover. It features a text-based feed and is integrated into the Instagram app to encourage users to engage with threaded content.

These insights showcase a diverse range of new social media apps in 2023, each catering to specific preferences and needs within the digital landscape.

These are the 13 best new social-media apps I downloaded this year in my work as a tech reporter — and why they're worth your time (2024)

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