A new social media app has been rapidly gaining new users in recent days, with many viewing it as a “Twitter alternative” as they grapple with the changes brought in by new owner Elon Musk.

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Hive Social is a mobile-only social networking app that recently celebrated one million users. Hive members are given access to accounts’ feed and discover page to explore trending content and profiles.

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The familiar interface mixes pictures and text in posts that can be liked, replied to and reposted – trying something new in the social space.

Hive Social was founded by a Southern California student who talked to newsweek About the making, rapid growth and future hopes of the app.

Who is the owner of Hive Social?

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Raluka Pop, also known as Cassandra Pop, is a student living in Southern California and the founder and creator of the social app Hive.

“Sometimes it’s hard for people to pronounce, so I go by Cassandra,” said Pop. newsweekExplaining his surname.

Living in Southern California, Pop, 23, created Hive Social after realizing that traditional social media wasn’t delivering what she wanted.

“I used to be in the micro influencer space and I was seeing a lot of the changes Instagram was making and got really tired of it,” she said. “You know, the algorithms, the overwhelming advertising… it just wasn’t fun anymore.”

Rather than waiting for someone else to make a difference, Pop decided she would try her hand at creating the social space she wanted, and in June 2019 began teaching herself to code.

“I had no technical background before this,” explained Pop. “I believe I launched the first version in October 2019 and have been working on it ever since.”

The first version was created by Pop and an independent developer who supported it, and today their team isn’t very large with a single designer and developer on board.

Pop laughed, “It’s just the three of us and I think we’re managing pretty well.”

‘I feel like users may feel stuck on other platforms right now’

as she was speaking newsweekPop checked the Hive Social database which was currently listing 1,240,000 users, with thousands more in the past few hours.

“We had 1.5 million sign ups today,” said Pop. “The problem we’re trying to fix right now is a different sign in method for Hive. A lot of people are getting the error.”

New Hive Social users are struggling to create an account with their email address, leaving some stuck on the sign-in page.

“This is because people have actually exceeded the email verification quota which is set at 100,000 a day. We are increasing this to be able to meet the demand,” Pop explained.

Many Hive Social users are moving from Twitter to the platform in reaction to the changes Musk is making, with others praising Hive Social as an alternative.

“I don’t think it’s a direct competitor to any specific social media,” Pop said. “I know we’ve been called either an Instagram or Twitter alternative, but I would think of it as a competitor in the social media space in general. We’re really just establishing our brand and making it our own. “

‘I would really like to be number one’

In the early days of his new social idea, Pop took out two personal loans from a federal credit union to fund Hive Social, and later secured $25,000 from an “angel investor”.

“It was someone I talked to about Hive and they really like it, so decided to take a chance, and we are grateful to them as it allows us to push this update forward,” Pop explained.

The Hive Social team is also in the process of crowdfunding on WeFunder for support to keep the app running.

For a fast-growing platform, Pop has some lofty ambitions for the future of Hive Social, which has soared to number one on the top free social apps on the Apple App Store.

“I would really like to remain number one,” she said. “And I’d love to have over 20 million daily active users.”

But Pop isn’t just interested in numbers, she also wants people to enjoy the experience with her platform.

“I know metrics are very important to social media companies, but I also want users to continue to really enjoy the app,” she said. “I do feel like users may feel stuck on other platforms right now and I hope that is not their experience with Hive, and we can continue to create a fun experience for them.”

How will the hive social evolve?

While it’s early days and still busy improving the platform, Pop has also cleared up some of the questions users have been asking so far.

As users flocked to create Hive Social accounts on Thursday, some found they were left with the same username, meaning their account was no longer unique.

“It happened when our server crashed,” explained Pop. “People were still able to sign up but the work we had to do to prevent duplicate usernames was not working.

“Our solution is to add numbers to the end of each username to differentiate them. This will happen in a future update,” she said.

Another issue raised by new Hive Social users was post duplication, whereby they were seeing the same ‘repost’ posts over and over again on their feeds.

“If a user follows ten people and those ten people repost the same post, it will show up on someone’s timeline,” Pop said. “We’ll work to figure out a solution where maybe the algorithm can figure it out.”

Other new users have asked if there will be a verification process similar to Twitter’s blue tick system, and Pop has a plan.

“We want to do two different types of verification,” he explained. “We’re looking at another type of verification for celebrities, government agencies, influencers or brands to verify someone’s identity and prevent impersonation for the average person.”