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Alphonzo “Phonz” Terrell was one of the many employees who lost their jobs when Elon Musk took over Twitter almost five months ago. But Terrell didn’t let that set him back. A little over a month after Twitter’s mass layoffs, Terrell announced his new company — a platform that looks ready to be the newest Twitter competitor — called Spill.
Elon Musk bought Twitter? Learn everything you need to know here.
What is Spill?
Launched in Q1 2023, this new social media platform will allow users to have live feeds where they can post their “spills.” Spills are random thoughts, announcements, or other ideas that come to mind, similar to standard posts. In the future, Spill will have a feature where users can host “tea parties,” aka virtual and in-person events. By hosting “tea parties,” users can get in-app bonuses that boost their posts.
As of January 30th, Terrell had raised $2.75 million to launch Spill. Since December, Spill has had 70,000 handle reservations despite having a team of less than ten employees. Terrell, the former head of Twitter’s Social and Editorial, employed former Twitter design chief Dantley Davis, civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson, and DEI advocate and #OscarsSoWhite creator April Reign.
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The reason behind hiring these diverse, forward-thinking skill sets? Spill – coming from the phrase “spill the tea” – aims to do what Twitter has not been able to. According to Terrell, Spill is “a real-time conversational platform that puts culture first” and will be a safe space for historically marginalized communities.
The Origins of the Newest Twitter Competitor
Via Alphonzo Terrell on LinkedIn
“Coming straight out of [the layoff], I was just like, ‘Oh, it’s time. It’s time to build, whether we get support or not,’” Terrell said. And he’s doing just that! As a Black social media founder, Terrell wants to lean into Black culture, dances, and memes – things that often get taken advantage of, overshadowed, and sometimes downright stolen.
Terrell told TechCrunch, “I think this is really a platform issue. Even before I left Twitter, over the last several months, I was just talking to Black female creators, talking to Black queer creators, and I’m like, ‘How do you make your money? Is any platform supporting you? Does the idea of Spill interest you?’”
Read about TikTok Videos and the Shift to Longer Form Content here.
Between ensuring Black creators are credited and paid for their authentic content and AAVE (African American Vernacular English) isn’t blocked, flagged, or censored, Terrell hopes Spill can be a haven for Black and other marginalized online communities.
Spill’s Innovative Features
Spill is set to use a variety of unique features that allow it to be the next Twitter competitor:
1. Large language model AI
This improves content moderation and user support.
2. Blockchain technology
Tech that will chart how posts go viral and automatically compensate their creators. Terrell is adamant that although Spill uses Blockchain technology, they will not use cryptocurrency to pay their creators.
3. Partnerships with entertainment brands
Spill is dedicated to bringing users top-notch content and topics so that users can “spill the tea.” After all, partnerships are essential for successful influencer marketing and content creation.
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Spill: A Safe Space for Marginalized Groups
Torrell and the team are proud of their innovative features, especially the innovative blockchain technology that’ll reward creators such as Black women, the LGBTQ+ community, and other underrepresented groups. Luckily, Spill guarantees that you’ll automatically get paid if your content goes viral! This is a step up from platforms like Twitter and TikTok where marginalized groups had their work copied and stolen, leaving original creators without credit or compensation. This feature is precisely what makes Spill the next Twitter competitor.
Via Jill Frank for The New York Times
In early 2020, along with the rest of the world, big-name celebrities like Kourtney Kardashian and David Dobrik performed the “Renegade” dance. Big-name TikToker Charli D’Amelio was dubbed the “CEO” of the dance for popularizing it. But what many don’t know is that the dance was actually created by 14-year old Jalaiah Harmon, a young Black creator from the Atlanta suburbs.
This isn’t the only dance created by a young Black choreographer. Other dances such as “Holy Moly Donut Shop,” the “Mmmxneil”, and “Cookie Shop” have come from young Black creators on smaller social media sites such as Dubsmash, Funimate, Likee, and Triller. To reach a wider audience, creators will post their dances on Instagram before the dance is often reposted by someone else onto TikTok.
Check out more Black Creators! See the Top 10 Black YouTubers here.
“I was happy when I saw my dance all over,” Harmon told The New York Times. “But I wanted credit for it.” On social media, credit means money, opportunities, platform growth, and more. Harmon said, “I think I could have gotten money for it, promos for it, I could have gotten famous off it, get noticed… I don’t think any of that stuff has happened for me because no one knows I made the dance.”
Despite this, Terrell is adamant that Black Creators will not run into this issue with Spill. Black people have always created their own spaces for themselves on the Internet. #BlackTwitter, for example, has coined the phrases #BlackLivesMatter, #OscarsSoWhite, and #Zola.
Sarah J. Jackson, coauthor of #HashtagActivism, and communications professor at the University of Pennsylvania, told Wired, “Black Twitter has reflected a fuller scope of Blackness, and a rejection of respectability. It has modeled what a healthy public sphere might look like, from the call-ins and callouts to the community debates about identity, from the parts that make you uncomfortable to the parts that inspire you.”
On the contrary, Twitter users fear that Black Twitter and other communities will cease to exist under Elon Musk’s reign. As a Twitter competitor, Spill offers a new platform for community, discussion, and activism.
Read about How To Start a Trend on TikTok here.
A Set-Up for Success
Raising just 1% of funds in 2022, Black founders are historically overlooked in venture capital. Despite this, Terrell and his team are confident in their success. They have impressive investors supporting them, including MaC Venture Capital and Kapor Center. Within 10 minutes of Terrell’s pitch, Kapor Center, a fund that works to support diverse founders, decided to back the newest Twitter competitor.
Click here to request your Spill handle today!
Spill isn’t the only Twitter competitor: read about Mastodon here.