Mark Zuckerberg recently introduced Threads, a new Twitter-like app that has already garnered 30 million users and is being hailed as the fastest-downloaded app. If you haven’t tried it yet, here’s a summary of what you’ve been missing out on Olivia Rodrigo promoting her new single, Al Roker discussing his ear wax, brands like Slim Jim and Wendy’s trying to be funny, and YouTube star MrBeast becoming the first user to hit a million followers.
Celebrities have also joined in, with actress Jennifer Lopez expressing her love for Threads, Paris Hilton asking followers to name her new puppy, and Ellen DeGeneres welcoming everyone to “Gay Twitter,” albeit facing some criticism in the replies.
While the app has stirred up controversy, with Twitter threatening legal action, the user experience feels rather basic and lacking innovation. The app mostly features 500-character messages filled with self-promotion and Elon Musk memes. The dominant topic of the conversation appears to be how strange it feels to be on Threads, with many users likening it to the first day of school.
In the wake of Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter and subsequent chaos, there have been numerous attempts at finding a replacement platform, such as Mastodon and Bluesky, but none have succeeded. Threads, as a companion to Instagram, offers users an alternative to Twitter. It boasts the advantages of Meta’s vast resources and Instagram’s billions-strong user base. This move of imitating competitors is classic Zuckerberg, as Meta has previously released features that mimic Snapchat and TikTok.
Past experiences with Mastodon and Bluesky have taught us that users won’t migrate to a Twitter replacement unless it’s as user-friendly and addictive as the original platform. Threads check the former box but still need to prove their addictive potential.
Getting started on Threads is simple, without the need for invitations or the hassle of learning a new interface. The app closely resembles Twitter, complete with Instagram’s fonts. However, there are a few unfamiliar aspects, such as the requirement of an Instagram account and the absence of ads and direct messaging—crucial components of Twitter.
Threads offer a pre-established social network, allowing users to follow the same accounts they follow on Instagram automatically. This built-in audience benefits celebrities and brands, and verified badges from Instagram carry over to Threads. This low barrier to entry is advantageous for those with prominent Instagram accounts since they don’t have to start from scratch and build a new following.
However, there are downsides to importing followers. Not all cherished Instagram accounts align with what users want to see on a text-heavy platform like Threads. Some users have noticed that their feeds are dominated by blue-checked accounts that aren’t always relevant to their lives. For instance, one user’s first post was by the Backstreet Boys.
It’s too early to predict the future of Threads—it could soar or fizzle out. Early app adopters are aware of this uncertainty, with some feeling like they’re either early to the party or no one else is coming. The fate of Threads remains to be seen.
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