Meta, the parent company of Facebook, officially launched Threads, its competitor to Twitter.
Threads has amassed over 100 million sign-ups in less than a week. It’s the fastest launch ever for a social media platform. Everyone from famous brands, celebrities, journalists, and other notable accounts has joined the platform. It’s like a new shiny store has opened and everything is rushing in to see what the hype is about. Will this replace Twitter? Become another social media monster on its own? The timing couldn’t be better as Elon Musk has many twitter users feeling uneasy the social giant seems to move as Elon feels.
So What is Threads by Meta?
Meta is the company that owns Facebook, Instagram & WhatsApp. As mentioned, Threads is similar to Twitter with mainly social text feeds accompanied by images or videos if attached. It’s “threads” because it is like having an online chat with others.
Similar to Twitter, Threads has a character limit of 500 characters per post. You can reply, repost, and quote others’ posts, just like you’re used to. But what’s neat is that Threads also takes some inspiration from Instagram, so it has that familiar look and feel. Plus, you can easily share your Threads posts directly to your Instagram Stories.
When it comes to privacy, you have options! You can make your Thread account public or keep it private. Oh, and if you’re already verified on Instagram, guess what? You’re automatically verified on Threads too!
According to Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, the idea behind Threads is to create a friendly space for conversation. They want to blend Instagram’s strengths with a fresh experience focused on text, ideas, and talking about whatever’s on your mind.
How did Threads get so popular?
Threads already has a huge advantage over Twitter due to its massive 2 billion active Instagram base. 2 billion. Not only can Meta promote Threads on its Instagram platform, but the onboarding process is also seamless for Instagram users. New users can sign up using your Instagram credentials, and port over all your contacts. It makes it easy to get it up and running if you are an existing user rather than starting from scratch. They essentially eliminated the hardest part of bringing on new users. What is Twitter’s active user base? 250 million.
Twitter has already sent a letter threatening a lawsuit that accuses Meta of intellectual theft. The battle has begun!
However, Threads is the new kid on the block and still needs to navigate through all the problems Twitter has had with fraud accounts, “fake news”, conspiracy theories, and bullying among others. The real question is whether or not users will want to maintain yet another social media platform.
Should I be concerned about the impact of Threads on children or younger users?
The negative effects of social media on children are well documented. Too much screen time can lead to unhappiness, depression, slow development, as well as hurting a youth’s ability to socialize with others (check out “Growing up Social” from Gary Chapman, an excellent book covering some of the effects screen time has had on this generation). Is Threads yet another platform parents will need to monitor?
This is hard to say so early, but Twitter itself never quite took off with young audiences. This is mainly because it is text-based and not image or video-based, as Instagram and Tiktok are. Twitter was mainly used by an adult audience seeking news and influence. Users under 18 made up roughly 6-7% of Twitter users. Unless something dramatically changes, Threads may have a similar makeup. Considering Meta owns Instagram, it would also make sense for them to focus Threads to a different audience.