Threads is the newest text-based social media platform and Meta’s answer to Twitter (more on that later). We’ve all heard about it and the question on everyone’s lips is “Will Threads be the next big thing?”. Answer: it has the potential to be popular but is unlikely to become the king of social media apps.
How did I come to this answer? Read on and find out.
A Quick Twitter Update
We’ve known about Twitter’s slow decline for a while, with the latest update being the limits placed on the number of Tweets users can see – causing ad revenue to plummet. It would appear Musk isn’t taking a strategy-first approach… But at least the post-viewing limits are only temporary (allegedly).
Twitter is still seeing negative cash flow and is in heavy debt, which has led some to theorise that the post-viewing limits were about saving money on servers – this claim can’t be confirmed, but if true is very concerning for Twitter as saving money on servers seems to have cost them much more than they can afford at the moment.
So, that’s where Twitter is at, now let’s focus on their newest competitor!
Threads: The Info You Should Know
Threads is very similar to Twitter, some similarities include:
- Being text-based
- Having a shorter-than-average text limit (the text limit on Threads is 500 characters)
- Based on following big events and starting conversations
It would be easy to dismiss Threads as just another Twitter clone, one of the many that have popped up since Musk’s takeover of Twitter, but Threads has something the others all lack – connections to existing, popular social networking sites.
Threads is powered by Instagram, meaning your profile on both sites will be linked and people who follow you on Instagram will automatically become a follower on Threads. This means your new Threads account will come with a pre-existing audience, so you don’t have to build your followers from scratch.
With the biggest barrier to creating a new social media account cleared from the moment your account goes live, surely no one will hesitate to sign up! Well, about that… there are a couple of things you should know before creating a profile on Threads.
‘Til Death Do They Part
The link between your Instagram and Threads account means you will have followers from the get-go, and it also means that if you delete your Threads profile, your Instagram profile will also get deleted. Meta is apparently working on a way to allow you to delete your Threads account separately, but for now, deactivating will be your only option.
Your Data, Their Bread and Butter
Meta’s history of data protection is famously less than ideal – selling your data is how Meta makes its money. Although Meta has taken some steps to protect user data since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Threads is still likely to collect sensitive user data and sell it for the sake of advertisers. These privacy concerns are why Threads wasn’t able to launch in the EU, if their privacy policies aren’t good enough for the EU, are they good enough for you?
Will Threads Replace Twitter?
…Maybe. Sorry for not being able to give a definitive answer but Threads is simply too new! The launch looked promising, with the site quickly gaining 100 million users, but the excitement is fading. Just one week after the launch, the average time spent on Threads plummeted from 20 minutes to just 8 – in a world of social media addiction, these numbers aren’t great.
However, we must remember that Threads is still quite new, with time it may grow to become people’s go-to source of news and information, which used to be Twitter’s role in the social media ecosystem.
Another factor going in Threads’ favour is the free-fall of Twitter’s user experience. The exodus of Twitter users will continue if the following continues:
- Post-viewing limits
- Blue-tick accounts being pushed onto people’s timelines, regardless of relevance to the user
- Poor moderation allowing hate speech to flourish
People leaving Twitter will naturally turn to Threads for the reasons outlined above. So, will Threads replace Twitter? Yes, if Twitter doesn’t get its act together – that’s too big of an ‘if’ for anyone to be 100% certain (for now).
Will Threads Be Bigger Than Other Sites?
…Unlikely. If Threads is the new Twitter, then there is no reason for us to think that Threads will become the new it girl on the scene. Twitter has never been the world’s most popular site, so it stands to reason that Threads will never reach that mantle either. Based on current trends (and by current, I mean the trends we’ve been seeing for the last few years), the future of social media is short-form videos.
There will always be a place for social media sites that prioritise text, but our future is looking a lot more visual.
This blog was originally published on Sentius Digital (View here).