What is Hive? Social media app that's gone viral explained - and how to download it

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Hive is oriented around the user experience through ‘a chronological order feed that maximises content engagement’ and the ability to select songs for ‘a more personalised profile’

The servers of a new social media app have crashed following an influx of visitors seemingly driven by glitches and crashes over on more established platforms.

Hive experienced more than 130,000 sign ups overnight earlier this week, a surge of traffic that its servers simply couldn’t cope with.

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They’re thankfully back online now (for the time being), which is handy as the app is currently trending near the top of Apple’s App Store charts.

(Photo: Shutterstock)(Photo: Shutterstock)
(Photo: Shutterstock)
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So just why has Hive gone from social networking also-ran to the hottest commodity of the app world?

Here’s everything you need to know about it.

What is HIve?

Technically, Hive isn’t all that new, and has actually been floating about app stores since October 2019. But just recently, it's picked up a whole lot more buzz….

Hive can be best described as a hybrid between the image sharing format of Instagram, and the succinct ‘micro-blogging’ tools of Twitter.

If you choose to sign up to the network, your profile will resemble that of one you might expect to see on Twitter, and it’s here that you can post text, photos and videos.

But the app explore page more resembles that of Instagram, with more of a focus on visual content. Add in a sprinkling of MySpace – the app allows users to add music to their profiles to show off their tastes – and you seemingly have a recipe for social synergy perfection.

According to the app’s creator, Hive is oriented around the user experience through “a chronological order feed that maximises content engagement”, and the ability to select multiple songs for “a more personalised profile that will play when users visit your page.”

Why is it suddenly popular?

Why Hive has suddenly received such a rush of interest is open to debate, but there are a number of potential reasons.

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The more optimistic out there would say people are gravitating towards the app after recent glitches in the apps of bigger players like Instagram were one bug too far.

This has pushed users towards smaller, more authentic alternatives not owned by billion dollar corporations.

Hive was created by Kassandra Pop, a relatively rare female face in a tech landscape dominated by majority male Silicon Valley types, and she runs just a small team (they quite sweetly pleaded “pls don’t crash the app again” on Twitter).

How have influencers promoted Hive?

The more cynical explanation comes down to Hive's paid-for content on TikTok, which has seen influencers extol the virtues of the newer app, racking up hundreds of thousands of views in the process and triggering a migratory shift towards Hive.

“Hive has everything you love about the old Instagram," says TikTok user @thickblackthot in a video that’s received half a millions views. “Ditch the Facebook-owned app and join Hive.”

In fact, it's a marketing tactic that the team behind Hive have admitted to themselves. ““We had @imanimlewis do a paid promotion for us on TikTok on Monday night,” they said, “and then @1DPsychic tweeted about us Tuesday morning as well and caught the attention of Stan Twitter.

"We’ve had a large influx of users because of them!”

In keeping with the influencer theme, Hive has a nifty scheme to keep content creators sweet, allowing users to monetise their accounts from the off.

Bigger networks – like Instagram and TikTok – don’t usually allow users to take this step until they have crossed a certain threshold of followers.

How can I download it?

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Hive can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store for users on iOS devices.

At the time of writing, Hive is not available on Android devices, though the team it is their “goal” to have an Android release “this year”.