The New Social Platform Has Arrived: Examining Threads

2 Aug, 2023
Insightful Blogs

Last month, Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta decided to shake up the social media market with the launch of their new platform ‘Threads’, Instagram’s text-based conversation app that allows users to ‘say more’. On its first day, the platform had already enlisted over thirty million users1 but almost a month since its release it’s safe to say it’s certainly causing a divide in the court of public opinion.

Threads burst onto the scene with a unique proposition—simplicity and focus. While other social media platforms have increasingly become cluttered with ads, excessive features, and distractions, Threads chose to take a different path. It carries the traditional way of an RSS feed (remember those?) interspersed with functionality from its host platform Instagram and social direction from its competitor Twitter.

The new text-based app allows users to post short updates with text up to 500 characters, links, photos, and videos. It has buttons to like, respond, reply to, or quote a thread and follow accounts that may interest you. Though if we’re being honest, Threads is Twitter in disguise… just without trending stories, hashtags and direct messaging.

“A Twitter Copy… Done Right?”

Since Twitter’s takeover by billionaire Elon Musk eight months ago, the platform has been wavering in popularity with traffic declining by 18.7%2. The loss of verified status’, massive layoffs of Twitter’s staff and the turn to a “free speech platform” -which has now turned Twitter into a hate speech platform – was only the start of the company’s chaos. But the latest removal of the cute and iconic blue bird we’ve all come to know and love through Twitter’s new rebrand to platform X could just be the opening threads needed to snap up some of X’s (Twitter’s) market share.

In a social media landscape dominated by established giants, removing one of the world’s most valuable brand names is certainly a unique approach to growth but then again so is entering a new platform with similar properties to existing platforms into the market.

Instagram CEO, Adam Mosseri, ‘threaded’ that the goal of the new platform “isn’t to replace Twitter” but “to create a less angry place for conversations” that doesn’t “encourage politics and hard news.” Given the popularity of Reddit, it’s clear that text-based conversations are prevalent in the new digital age and as Threads promotes a ‘friendlier’ platform it has the advantage of capturing a younger and wider audience base –  especially those that no longer fit into the Twitter target market.

Mainstream hype or a Novelty fad? 

Whilst Threads ticks a lot of boxes as a new conversational platform, after an initial flurry of excitement Threads’ daily active users dropped from 49 million to 23.6 million just a week after its release4. Could it be Threads is heading for the same fate as MySpace and Google+?

It feels like the platform was rushed to be released to take advantage of the latest chaos at X, resulting in oversites in key features. Currently, only users of Instagram are able to create a threads account with the content being suggested based on your Instagram analytics. But as of yet, there is no way to search topics or keywords for content, which leaves only your ‘for you’ page to be of interest – and even in the 21st century there’s only so much scrolling one can do before you get bored.

However, since Thread’s inception, Meta has announced new features to be implemented over the coming weeks to enable a more user-friendly application and whilst it’s far too early to predict the eternal fate of Threads the platform has potential, that’s for sure. Their large enough user base is growing and if they keep adding features positive engagement should follow suit. At the same time, they must continue to differentiate themselves from X, despite some of X’s latest havoc the platform won’t be going away any time soon so Threads must find a way to co-exist with X that ensures their own survival.

Our advice?

Brands should be quick to jump onto the ‘early adopter’ status, leveraging threads to show their personalities and creating humourous content and conversations that more effectively foster brand loyalty. Getting in early (Whether the platform should sink or swim) allows you to establish your voice and experiment with new ideas to connect with key stakeholders. It’s the new ‘cool’ platform to hang out on and creating exclusive content that speaks directly to the new Threads community could open up a new brand audience and customer base.

1- BBC News

2- SimilarWeb

3- Elon Musk’s Twitter Takeover 

4- SimilarWeb