A New Social Media Challenger Approaches: Introducing Threads, Meta's Attempt At The Twitter Throne
The bird app faces a new foe as Mark Zuckerberg & the Meta team unveils a Twitter-esque text-sharing platform for Instagram users.
It's the day after a US holiday. Corporate inboxes across the nation are filled with out-of-office autoreplies. That summer-specific kind of quiet has begun to set in.
That is, until Mark Zuckerberg and the Meta squad unleashed their latest invention on our current social media landscape. Let's talk about Threads.
Threads is the social media universe's shiny new toy. It's a text-based companion platform to Instagram. Existing Instagram users can download the Threads app, link it to their Instagram profile, and start posting using a system that should look very familiar. Threads is nearly identical to Twitter—and it's already been dubbed the "Twitter Killer," too.
- Scrollable feed
- Short-form text posts (up to 500 characters)
- Photo & video attachments available
- Like, comment, repost, & quote posts—just like Twitter
Zuckerberg's Twitter clone gained traction quickly, with over 30M total sign-ups by Thursday morning according to the man himself. As more and more Instagram users begin to make their way over, Threads' new community is sounding off on a big question: in a digital world already crowded with social media platforms, what will we use this one for?
The Future of Threads
Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri has talked about Threads’ future as part of what Meta calls the “fediverse,” i.e. federated universe.
According to Instagram’s Help Center, “Our plan is to make Threads part of the fediverse, a social network of different servers operated by third parties that are connected and can communicate with each other. Each server on the fediverse operates on its own but can talk to other servers on the fediverse that run on the same protocol.”
If Mosseri & Zuckerberg’s vision becomes a reality, it might mean that Threads becomes a hub for multichannel social media presences, in terms of being able to view all kinds of content from one place (the Threads app) and allowing creators and brands to branch out to other platforms without starting from scratch (i.e. bringing an existing Threads community over to another platform in the fediverse).
Long story short: the goal is for Threads to work seamlessly with other online communities and become a tool for maintaining and expanding an engaged audience from one central platform.
The New Wild West of Social Media
Right now, however, Threads is at that fun, chaotic stage of the new social media platform lifecycle. It's a trending platform with a ton of users where the posting "status quo" has yet to be defined. A Threads-based lexicon is being created as we write this—but nothing is set in stone (yet).
Right now, a peek into the Threads landscape will include...
Creators embracing a new sense of freedom.
Although Threads is connected to Instagram, allowing for the ability to cross-post with ease, the two platforms are functionally very separate at the moment. Many creators have taken this as an opportunity to branch out from what could be defined as their "usual" content strategy. If Instagram is the polished, edited, highly curated version of their presence, Threads is the behind-the-scenes stream-of-consciousness side that normally wouldn't see the light of day.
Since Threads is so new, no style of content feels off the table, so creators are embracing all things goofy, experimental, and ultimately very entertaining. The most noteworthy content strategies we're seeing could only be described as unserious. Across the board, users, creators, and brand profiles all seem to agree on one thing: Threads is a place where "shitposting" (i.e. overtly ridiculous, goofy, and surrealist-style content) is welcome.
Brands staking their claim on uninhabited digital land.
The announcement of a new social media platform is like spilling a drop of blood in shark-infested waters: it's not long until brands and corporate accounts come running to be among the first to get a taste of a brand-new digital content arena. Many of these accounts have entered the stage with brief welcome messages, already started aligning their feed with their existing content strategy, and are trying to create interactive opportunities for community members eager to add their voice to the Threads noise.
As of right now, the platform is extremely simple. Brands can only really track the success of their presence in the form of likes, replies, mentions, and followers. Whether or not Threads becomes a place for non-organic strategies is unknown, but many users have already shared their two cents on keeping their feeds largely corporate- and ad-free.
And, most importantly, Wendy’s is still acting like Wendy’s.
A Return To Social Media Roots
Because social media has become so monetized, so managed, and so regulated over its lifetime, getting free reign of a platform with zero history and no ads feels almost nostalgic. It feels like the early days of Facebook, when access began rolling out to people beyond those attending college or university. It feels like Twitter in its infancy with an "anything goes" approach to content.
No one is overthinking or over strategizing on content opportunities. We're all simply adding our voice to a larger collection of voices, eager to share ideas with a little less of a filter than normal and excited to see what happens next.