In May we reported on a potential competitor for the flailing Twitter—another contestant in the ring, this one from the powerhouse Meta.
Threads, as it turns out, is the name of Meta’s offering, and if you haven’t yet joined, it might feel like you’re in the minority.
Introduced on July 5, the app reached 30 million users in less than a day—numbers that put it on track to be the fastest-growing app of all time (the current titleholder is ChatGPT, which reached 100 million users in just two months earlier this year).
It helps that signup for Threads, snug under Meta’s umbrella of popular social apps, is so easy. If you have an account on Instagram—also owned by Meta—you have built-in followers; Threads also automatically follows the same accounts for you. It doesn’t take much input from users to log in, and everything is linked. Posts to Threads can even be added to Instagram Stories.
The app is in its infancy, but in a word, it’s fun. A current scroll through your feed has a first-day-of-school vibe: Everyone seems excited to be there, still figuring it all out, but we’re all doing it together. If you’re old enough to remember the first days of Facebook—or better yet, Instagram—there’s this feeling of nervous camaraderie. What is this thing for? What do we even do here? That sort of thing. Random thought streams and status updates hark back to the late-’90s/early-2000s days of AOL’s Instant Messenger—and who isn’t here for a ’90s revival?
Anyone used to Twitter won’t find it hard to figure it out—it’s incredibly similar. But what Meta gives us with Threads feels like a bit of a do-over, an escape from the toxic hole its competitor has become. Will it last? Time will tell. But right now is the right time to dive in, while the air is fresh and the feeling’s good.
Like most anything related to the tech and social media world, Threads is not without its issues. Twitter has already accused Meta of stealing trade secrets for the new app, alleging that former Twitter employees worked on Threads’ creation. “No one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee,” Andy Stone, Meta communications director, posted on Threads. “That’s just not a thing.”
Some might be rooting for this to be the nail in Twitter’s coffin, while others vow to support Twitter. As is the case with many things these days, the divide has political influences—you can probably guess who is supporting what. But while many of us enjoy our jolly time on Threads for however long it may last (the app is currently not generating revenue, for what it’s worth), we should stop and ask ourselves: Is it a good thing that one company has control over all of our favorite social media platforms? Probably not.
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