Imagine a social media world without X (formerly known as Twitter and how everyone will always refer to it). That’s what Mark Zuckerberg would like you to do.
In July, Meta launched its much hyped social app, Threads, an Instagram platform for posting and sharing text (up to 500 characters), images and video (up to five minutes), with a purported emphasis on social networking and an X-type community. You can interact with other users through likes, replies and reposts.
If that sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because it is. It’s like X without Elon Musk.
In the first week alone, 100 milion users signed up for Threads, making it the fastest-growing app ever, beating out even ChatGPT. However, just eight weeks after its release, it quickly plateaued at 128 million users.
Here are just a few reasons why that happened.
- Issue #1: Threads started out as a mobile app only with no website.
- Issue #2: The browser version didn’t materialize until one month later.
- Issue #3: Threads lacks popular hashtags, trending stories, an edit button, DMs and a robust search function.
Data from Social Media Today estimates the current number of daily active users on Threads as just 10 million, compared to the 250 million daily actives on X. And the average user session on Threads is only three minutes while the average session time for X is 25 minutes.
Who’s Threading Now?
According to influencer marketing group IZEA, Gen X made up the majority of Threads users with 36% signing up. More males registered than females (33.2% versus 21.9%) and 60.9% of social influencers signed up. Unfortunately for Meta, almost half of 18- to 29-year-olds have already deleted their accounts.
The majority of X users, on the other hand, are Gen Z (42%). They’re also male (63% to 37%), which makes X the largest gender gap of every other social platform.
Two Apps Are Better Than One
One big boost for Threads is that it’s tied to your existing Instagram account. It shares the same username and profile picture (although you can swap out the picture and display name) and its streamlined process makes it easy to link the two apps together. Your Threads feed populates quickly with your Instagram followers.
Thirty-eight percent of users report creating a Threads account because they were curious to try a new app, while 32% were interested in a Twitter alternative.
David vs. Goliath? Threads vs. X
It’s hard to think of Zuckerberg as the little guy fighting the good fight. Really hard. But it’s not too difficult to view Elon Musk as the giant when it comes to social media.
An article in TechCrunch opines that “most new [social media] platforms have at some point been designated the vestibule by which social connection and digital community will carry on, only to be thwarted by controversies, content moderation issues, dwindling engagement, and more.”
In other words, do we really need another Twitter? Do we even need Twitter?
In the meantime, Meta continues to roll out improvements, including better search, active hashtags and an auto-archive option. Will that be enough to lure some wayward users back. Whether Threads can possibly live up to its anticipated nickname, “The Twitter Killer,” is yet to be seen.
For now, a more apt nickname may be “The Twitter Nuisance.”
Photo by Martin Martz