Threads is the newest release as a companion to Instagram. The newest articles released talking about the new app from Meta labeled it as the “Twitter Killer App“, but is that actually an accurate label for Threads?
Now that there have been a few weeks to look it over and test drive this new offering, is this app really worth the hype? Throughout the course of this article, I want to talk a little about what I see in Threads.
The first requirement, you must have an Instagram account to access Threads. With that being said, wouldn’t you think that would be the reason for the big “Boom” in users that everyone is talking about? I believe so. The talk of Threads picked up 100 million users in the first week, but in essence, they were already there on Instagram.
I am not certain that the killer reputation that Threads is given can really be given to an app that initially pulls the majority of its users from already existing users of their companion platforms. To say that the program had over 100 million users in the first week is a big deal, but since they had a head start I don’t know if it is as ENORMOUS as everyone says it is.
Threads – What’s it About?
From Meta’s page, the introduction of Threads seems to be an interactive companion to other products involved with the Activity Pub project. At the same time, it is the “texty” companion to Meta’s Instagram. The commitment is to make the Threads platform a part of the Activity Pub decentralized network. This means that you can transfer and communicate with users from Mastodon and other Activity Pub partners.
DDM Creative signed into Threads last week to get a feel for the platform and see what the hype is all about. When I logged in, I saw that it looked very similar to what I would see on Twitter.
I also saw a lot of the same Instagram-weighted algorithm throwing things in front of me that I really had no interest in based on their analysis of what they think I should see from sponsors and influencers. I get that companies have to make a buck to stay afloat, but I have to admit, like most people, I hate it. It does give more interactivity that was missing with Instagram, so there is that going for it.
Freedom of Speech
I want to make a quick point about the issue of Freedom of Speech in all of this. Let’s be completely honest. Mark Zuckerberg has been less than honest about Meta and its position in guaranteeing a platform free from bias. With that, I have to say that my position on anything Meta is met with serious skepticism. The first phrase on Meta’s site right now is, “It’s Your World.” However, as of late, the company has shown itself to be a player in events that shape society. Some might even say interfered with elections.
Now, let’s combine this with decentralized tech. There is a give and take when you are allowing your information to be used. Far more than you may think. I wrote about an instance that involved learning projects that train AI. When you check that you agree with someone’s terms of service you may be also giving away the rights to your own intellectual property.
The point is, decentralized platforms are created for the creators that use the platform, and basically adrift at sea for anyone else that is using it. They aren’t looking out for you; they are looking to develop new and improved tech. This often means you are putting yourself in the hands of either pirates or protectors. The problem is, we don’t always know who is what in this situation.
Bear all of this in mind when you are wanting to get involved in the process. I would like to say that people are watching out for you, but this really is “The Wild West” in a sense. There are risks.
Threads Versus Twitter – Is There a Winner?
There are differences in the number of words you can post together as well as other things that make the platforms different. Those specifications are available anywhere, and I am not going to rehash those things. As I said before, Threads looks a lot like Twitter. Twitter has the largest user base of any legitimate platform. Yes, it had a head start. When I read Meta’s info on the Threads app, as well as several others, Threads is boasted as a more social app. I want to suggest that this is impossible considering the algorithm, and its promotion of business throughout the whole platform. To use any of the platforms there is some aspect of that, whether it be Twitter or Threads.
There is no faster place to get the information you are seeking than Twitter. I am pretty sure this is why Meta wanted to make it known that Threads was more social. Threads is a partner to Instagram which supposedly adds a more comprehensive cohesion of words and images. Part of me thinks that they are just doing what they can to fix that flaw in Instagram. As a creator, in its current form, I don’t find that Threads solves any problems I was dealing with somewhere else. It’s something new and shiny. Here’s the thing, they are already seeing a drop off in users which probably leads to the argument that it really doesn’t offer a lot we aren’t already seeing someplace else.
The Verdict is in…
Well, actually more my opinion than anything else. I believe Meta knows that Facebook is slipping. They also likely know that Instagram isn’t going to save it. Twitter is always going to be a forum for people to talk about whatever is on their minds, or concepts they are wanting to get noticed. I will continue to keep up with Threads because I have to keep up with all of the Social Media platforms in this industry, I just don’t see it as all that useful at this time.
When it comes down to a question of personal ideology, Zuckerberg really doesn’t seem like the kind of guy that wouldn’t sell his users out. I have a hard time trusting the guy. However, Elon Musk made a promise to Twitter users last January that he would be providing a way for users to see how their account traffic might be affected by restrictions and algorithms. That hasn’t happened. There isn’t the transparency that he promised. However, I have more hope for the protection of Free Speech in Musk’s corner than that of the Zuck. I will likely lean to Twitter when I am looking for issues of fairness in the platform.
Those are my thoughts. They may change at some point, but I find it hard to believe Threads will be any more a contender for our time than Instagram already is. I find it all awkward and disjointed. I didn’t even throw Mastodon into the conversation because I don’t see it being a very legitimate contender. It’s like trying to go back to MySpace after using Facebook.
What do you think? Please post your thoughts in the comment section below. I look forward to interacting with you.