Threads is huge. Sew what?
Meta’s Threads has been out only a few weeks, but it already has become a major player in the social space. But is it the Twitter killer everyone was anticipating? Let’s take a look at the first few days of Threads.
Threads Got Big, Fast
Threads’ ease of account setup via Instagram integration has made it one of the fastest growing social media channels ever, reaching 100 million users faster than ChatGPT. Unlike other brand-new social platforms, Threads has the inherent trust of new users thanks to its parent brand, Meta. Facebook and Instagram are social stalwarts, and at a minimum, users know what to expect in terms of privacy.
The platform’s obvious parallels with Twitter also have proven to be a boon for its uptake. It’s no secret that Twitter’s been on a nosedive over the past year. Since the Musk transition, there have been a number of unpopular changes at the platform including the introduction of paid user accounts (tying them to visibility on the platform) and limits to the number of tweets that users can see per day. Long-time bird nerds (that’s what I call Twitter users) have been leaving the platform in droves, and YOY traffic is down 11%. Unhappy users were ripe for Threads’ picking. It’s no mistake that the general layout and navigation of Threads feels so familiar.
Creating a Brand-Friendly Community
Meta is pushing for a more “positive” tone and environment on Threads, de-emphasizing politics and news on the platform. Perhaps this is due in part to recent calls for social platforms to do more to fight disinformation. But it’s as likely that Meta is looking to build a brand-safe environment.
While no advertising is yet available on the platform, Creator tools will be coming soon, and it’s only a matter of time before Meta is courting paid advertisers. While there are some controls in place on current platforms, it’s impossible to avoid having your ad appear alongside vitriolic content, and it seems like Threads will look to be a landing space for those fed up with Twitter, Facebook, and the likes.
While Threads has gained a ton of traction in the US, it’s not yet accessible in the EU (making those numbers even more impressive). Europe’s DMA could prevent Meta from connecting Instagram to Threads accoutns due to its rules around data mixing. Meta is unwilling to launch in the EU until there is greater clarity.
Threads on the Fediverse
Federated application development effectively allows multiple platforms built on the same standard to interact seamlessly. This enables easier transfer of data between platforms and empowers users to access a wider range of services with a single account and communicate across platforms.
Threads is build on the ActivityPub standard, making it a part of the same fediverse (federated + universe) as the OTHER Twitter killer, Mastodon. Future updates will push a greater levelof conectivity to Threads, eventually allowing users to connect with Mastodon and other services built on ActivityPub.
Immense early adoption aside, there’s no way to tell whether Threads will have staying power. As a Twitter alternative, it lacks a few key tools, yet its currently wholesome vibe provides a much more chipper alternative to everyone’s favorite doomscrolling platform.