July 12, 2023 Lucas Ho

Unravelling Threads

A New Makeover, or the (Tech) Emperor’s New Clothes?

Image created by Midjourney

A few days ago, Threads, the new platform from Meta (by way of Instagram), became the most downloaded app in history. In fact, within the first 24 hours: 30 million users joined, and posted over 95 million threads in that timeframe. Built in direct competition to Twitter, Threads’ splashy debut was nothing short of meteoric. As of this moment, it just crossed 100 million users

From a large-scale retrenchment of staff to the hastily-withdrawn, then just as hastily-relaunched plan to begin charging for verified accounts, Elon Musk’s recent Twitter acquisition has been tumultuous at best, and downright calamitous at worst. (Mere hours before Threads’ surprise launch, Twitter suddenly announced that they would be throttling how many tweets users can read.) This paved the way for Meta to step in to address all the unhappiness that Twitter users had faced – lack of clarity, and a growing sense that the platform’s much vaunted-freedom to tweet almost anything one wanted was being curtailed, turning into a pay-to-play palace for a modern-day tech oligarch. 

This perhaps goes some way in explaining Threads’ rapid ascent; as well as how Instagram gamely leapt at a golden opportunity to capture a wide swath of users which are growing increasingly disenchanted by the state of social media today. But in this age of disposable news and the rapid decay of information, what is it that is not just propelling, but sustaining Threads’ current popularity?

Much of the interaction on Threads thus far might perhaps be characterised as exuberant chaos. One’s timeline resembles a melange of pithy daily observations, quickfire memes and serious philosophical questioning. Just like first settlers to a new territory, the early adopters began to test and experiment, trying to discover the technological limits of the platform (Does it support video? How long does it play for? Can images appended to a post be displayed vertically as well as horizontally?) Soon enough, content creators began offering dollops of sagely advice, a popstar promoted a soft drink, and influencers were trying out ways to transpose their carefully-constructed personas from other platforms. Threads quickly began to resemble 2010s Twitter or, more recently, YouTube’s nascent Shorts feed.

The rapid-fire trialling has also flourished in spite (or perhaps because of) a lack of expected features. One can reply to posts, but you can’t privately reach out to other Threaders. There is currently no support yet for hashtags, no readily accessible web interface (Threads is currently app-only), and no option for a chronological timeline. And no one knows yet how its algorithm works, so every piece of content is fair game.

But without such means to organise and consciously redirect attention on the platform, Threads offers something that hasn’t been fully present in a while on other social media platforms – authenticity, and joy. These can’t simply be evoked with a prompt to a large language model. Doing social media well still requires time and effort, and above all else, purposefulness. But the current vibe, if you will, on Threads is currently that of purposeful exploration and play and experimentation. 

Purposefulness. This is always foremost on our minds at Immedia Content. We don’t simply rely on SEO metrics and social listening statistics to determine what we say and how we say it. We are attuned to what our clients want to say, and work hard at conveying purpose with craft and intelligence. And, backed by Contrend, our groundbreaking AI and ML analysis tool, we ensure that you remain a major voice in the conversation, adapting tone, style and length as needed. 

Threads eventually will have to grapple with moderation and monetisation – this is, after all, still run by Mark Zuckerberg. We’ll see if they fall back on time-worn formulas, in the pursuit of stability and profitably, or truly be innovative and turn it into something more than just a Zuckerberg vs. Musk battle

So drop us a line. We’re happy to chat!

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