“In the fast-paced world of social media”… I use that phrase a lot in our copy! It’s true, social media is fast paced. You go to bed one day and the next day there’s a new social media app on the marketplace everyone seems to be talking about and jumping on! That’s what happened when Meta released Threads 24 hours before they told us they were going to! In a world where brevity rules, Threads is a new contender intended to challenge the status quo. If you haven’t already (where have you been?), say hello to “Threads,” an extension of Instagram and Twitter’s new rival.
Will Threads be the new kid on the block that wipes Twitter out? We’ll see, I have my thoughts as you’d expect! It certainly has the potential, Meta is of course a tech giant, and as the parent company of some of the most popular social media platforms used globally, I’m sure it will be worth watching to see how things play out.
Let’s dive into Threads, explore its unique features, the reasons behind its (perceived) popularity, and how Meta’s powerful ownership might play a significant role in shaping its future success.
What is Threads?
Threads is a dynamic social media platform that prioritises in-depth conversations and content sharing. As an extension of Instagram, Threads takes advantage of the visual storytelling power of its parent platform while offering users the freedom to express themselves with expanded character limits. This makes Threads an ideal space for creators, thought leaders and everyday users to connect and engage in more meaningful interactions.
Meta’s Dominance in the UK Social Media Landscape
Meta, previously known as Facebook, has a strong presence in the UK social media landscape. It’s worth noting that they own four out of the five most used social media platforms among users aged over 16 in the country. Threads have a unique advantage as it taps into the vast user base already familiar with Meta’s ecosystem. By capitalising on its existing reach, Meta can seamlessly integrate Threads into their family of products by encouraging cross-platform usage and further expanding Threads’ potential user base.
Key Features of Threads
- Expanded Character Limit: Threads inherited the generous character limit from Instagram’s captions, allowing users to compose posts with significantly more text than Twitter allows. This encourages users to express themselves more comprehensively, in theory promoting thoughtful discussions.
- Threaded Conversations: True to its name, Threads embraces the idea of threaded replies, enabling users to build coherent chains of thought, making conversations easy to follow and engage with. (Something that had gotten a little messy over on Twitter!)
- Rich Media Integration: In line with what we find on Instagram, Threads naturally supports robust media integration. Users can share high-res photos, videos, and audio clips, which enhance our ability as users to tell stories that connect with audiences on a deeper level.
- Community-driven Interactions: Threads leverages the community-driven content curation approach seen across Meta’s platforms. This allows users to engage and in doing so actively promote meaningful posts, offering content creators greater exposure and recognition.
- Enhanced Privacy Controls: Recognising the importance of user privacy, Threads offers comprehensive settings that allow users to control who can view and interact with their content, providing a more personalised and secure experience.
The Future of Threads
As Threads continues to gain momentum, it is poised to become a formidable competitor in the world of social media. Leveraging the visual appeal and connectivity of Instagram while promoting in-depth conversations, Threads offers users the best of both worlds. Its integration with Meta’s existing ecosystem and the vast user base presents a significant opportunity to attract a diverse audience at speed and solidify its position in the social media landscape.
Threads already, at the time of writing this, has over 110 Million users. It broke records in breaking 1 Million users one hour after launch, and only 7 hours to reach 10 Million. (To give you an idea of how crazy this is, the previous record holder was ChatGPT which took 40 days to gain 10 Million users.)
There is another potential driver for Threads to become a household name and for Twitter to disappear from our consciousness… and this is very much a personal opinion rather than one supported by fact and research! Iconic figures like Elon Musk, with their unique personas and ideas, have garnered massive followings and loyal superfans. However, even for influential personalities like Musk, there’s a delicate balance to maintain between their charisma and their behavior. While superfans may continue to support their idols, there’s a risk that polarising, controversial, or simply strange behavior might deter potential followers. For some, the fact that in the same week Musk launched a case against Meta for copying Twitter, it was also reported that his ChatGPT copycat was about to launch. The words pot, kettle, and black spring to mind! Since his takeover of Twitter, we’ve also seen reports of increased hate speech on Twitter and some of the bizarre things that have gone on (remember the kitchen sink) may see users opting for an alternative platform. Personal brand could be the thing that drives a nail in the coffin for Twitter!
Why did I wait to publish a blog on Threads?
Honestly, I’ve seen this all play out before. A new social media app is released, people jump on board, experts on the platform appear within hours and all of a sudden the platform disappears into the wilderness again. So I waited to form my opinion.
In this case, we’ve already seen the surge of early adopters slow. SimilarWeb, a data-tracking site, is reporting that the number of daily active users has dropped from 49 million to 23.6 million in a week, meaning people who rushed to sign up aren’t coming back regularly.
While this drop in daily active users poses a challenge for Threads, it is not uncommon for new platforms to experience fluctuations like this. Meta’s ability to address concerns, adapt to user needs, and refine its features will play a pivotal role in determining its future success – and it’s something it has experience of, mostly with success. We’ve already had promises of Meta holding off introducing Paid Ads appearing on the platform until they reach a billion users which in itself may encourage users to engage.
Will Threads stand the test of time?
In this rapidly evolving world of social media, Threads represents a compelling option for content creators and users alike, providing a space to share, engage, and connect with others. Whether you’re a storyteller, an influencer, or simply someone seeking authentic conversations, Threads has something unique to offer as it sets its sights on carving its own niche in the world of social networking.