Meta’s new platform, Threads, garnered over 2 million registrations within its initial two hours and amassed 100 million users by the fifth day. However, a month later, the number of Threads users has noticeably declined. Based on analysis from web analytics firm Similarweb, usage has plunged by 79% in just a single month.
Among the controversies following Elon Musk’s acquisition, several alternative social networks have emerged over the past year. They aim to replicate the Twitter or X-like experience without the complications associated with Musk’s leadership. Platforms such as Mastodon, Bluesky, and Threads have tried to generate initial buzz by offering similar but more balanced alternatives. However, attracting users is just the beginning; retaining them poses a much bigger challenge
What is Threads?
Threads is a new app from Meta. Free to download, it’s a text-based app ‘where communities come together to discuss everything from the topics you care about today to what’ll be trending tomorrow.’ In a bid to rival Twitter (now known as X,) Thread’s primary focus is on sharing short snippets of text on the conversation-based platform.
Threads allowed users of Instagram to sign up for the platform with ease. The launch, meanwhile, came at a moment of operational turmoil at Twitter, just days after the company imposed a temporary cap on the number of posts that users could view.
Threads vs Twitter
While the two platforms are both microblogging platforms, there are some key differences between them. While Threads looks a lot like Twitter in terms of layout and structure, it still doesn’t have a reverse chronological ‘following’ feed, search functionality, trending hashtags, or direct messages.
What’s driving the Threads drop-off?
The decline can largely be attributed to the novelty wearing off. During its initial two days, Threads garnered significant media coverage and witnessed a surge in curious users. However, not everyone incorporated it into their daily routine – and it likely felt particularly alien to Instagram users who had never tried a microblogging platform before but were tempted to log in with their existing account.
Even Twitter superfans may feel alienated by the direction Meta wants to take with Threads. Adam Mosseri, leading both Instagram and Threads, is on a mission to create a ‘more peaceful conversational space.’ The company has explicitly stated its intention to steer clear of political discussions and hard-hitting news. Ironically, the very edginess and rawness that can make Twitter seem toxic might be its unique selling point.
For some users, Twitter’s less sanitised, rough-around-edges discourse is part of the appeal, and in contract, Threads is well, a tad bland. Twitter owner Elon tweeted ‘Whatever sins this platform may have, being boring is not one of them.’
Then of course there are missing features. By rushing to release in a bid to take advantage of Twitter’s latest own goal, Threads failed to integrate many essentials that Twitter enthusiasts have come to appreciate.
Will Threads overthrow Twitter?
Currently, Threads algorithmic feed is dominated by celebrities, brands, and Instagram influencers and it isn’t clear whether Threads is going to be vital during breaking news and political events the same way Twitter has.
Ultimately, while Threads has made a significant splash, it remains to be seen whether it can consistently ripple against the tide set by Twitter. Only time will tell if Threads can truly overtake Twitter as the top microblogging platform.
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