Meta — the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp — launched Threads, a text-based social media app, exactly one week ago on July 5, 2023. On Monday, July 10, Threads reached 100 million users, surpassing ChatGPT as the fastest growing platform in existence.
Intended to go head-to-head with Twitter, the Threads launch was strategically timed and messaged. High profile influencers have been leaving Twitter for months as the company continues to unravel (pun intended) under Elon Musk’s ownership. Twitter users found themselves awash in irrelevant content, struggling to reach their followers, and frustrated by a new, nonsensical verification process.
Enter Threads. Smartly designed to exist within the context of Instagram, Threads reached critical mass quickly because it was so easy for Instagram users to sign up. How the platform will fare for corporations looking to engage with stakeholders and advertise is yet to be seen (Threads is still ad free at the time of publication of this piece.)
Overall, the reaction has been positive, and Musk is freaking out. Many experts have weighed in on how to approach this new tool. We gathered some of their thoughts here for our collective consideration.
“If you don’t have an Instagram account but think Threads might be a fit for your organization down the road, go ahead and sign up for an Instagram account anyway. It’s a good idea to reserve your brand name, and that will allow you to move into Threads if and when you decide to get started.”
-PR Daily, What comms pros need to know about Threads
“The risk for brands and retailers is that social media becomes even more political than it is already. There is a trend evolving where the medium defines your political views and now that’s extending to social media too. One member of Congress has already said they’re sure Threads is “a Marxist style social media experience” that will be used to “steal elections.” That stuff is poison for retailers and brands.”
“Like Instagram, Threads isn’t likely to create much in the way of culture. Instagram’s viciously fickle algorithm coupled with its extreme culture of curation discourages experimentation, funneling its often exhausted creators toward a few proven visual styles — captions with 450+ words of text and vacation medley Reels with that one viral sound this week. There’s little room for error. Threads’ pedigree all but ensures a total bifurcation between the kind of content that brands, celebrities, organizations and governments make and the unhinged terminally online posts that Twitter was once known for. The former will have a cozy home on Threads, but the latter is unlikely to thrive there.”
“During a time where Twitter is becoming more closed, Threads plans to be open – quite open. ‘Soon’ Threads will hook into the W3C’s open social networking protocol ActivityPub so that connections can happen with compatible apps like Mastodon. Plus, over time, as we’ve seen in the past from other apps and streaming services, consolidation in the market will happen. But can Meta’s Threads come out on top of the pack?”
Can Meta’s Threads overcome social media app fatigue and brands’ hesitations to commit to an untested environment? Will Threads and Twitter be able to coexist peacefully? We shall see. Rest assured that in the meantime, we will be paying close attention to the ever-evolving social media landscape.
Header Credit: New York Times