What to make of Threads and where it’s currently placed in the social media ecosystem?
After racing to 100 million sign-ups in a record amount of time, the app’s growth has significantly slowed since, due to limited functionality, decreasing engagement, lack of regional availability, etc.
Threads is now sitting on 120 million total sign-ups, with reports that its growth has slowed by 90% since its initial hyped launch. Which seemingly doesn’t bode well for its future, while engagement is also reportedly down significantly, as the early excitement fades.
So is Threads over already, and are we destined to just drift back to X, no matter how many competitors show up?
With Threads specifically, I do think that there’s something there, and I do think that the initial hype is indicative of potential, even just in the sense that so many people are seeking an alternative. The Threads algorithm is improving, which is helping to boost engagement, and Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg remains optimistic that it can become a significant platform, despite its early fluctuations.
But it does have a way to go.
As per Zuckerberg’s post above, key Threads updates, like a desktop app and improved search, will be coming soon, while it’s also rolling out smaller tweaks and changes that will gradually improve the user experience.
Among them, Threads is currently in the process of rolling out a new section where you can view your liked Threads, so you can find content that you’ve previously engaged with.
The Threads team has also begun rolling out new notification control options, providing another way to manage your app experience.
The fact that these are just now being added underlines how new the app is, and how much work the Threads team likely needs to do to get it up to par with your regular social app experience.
But they are coming, and along with the addition of a “Following” feed, Threads functionality is improving, which will see a steady evolution of the in-app experience.
And with Zuckerberg now extra motivated to combat Elon Musk, both metaphorically and physically, it seems likely that Threads will indeed be given every chance, and every available resource, to maximize its success.
The much-rumored “Elon vs Zuck” cage fight may or may not go ahead, but I would bet on Zuck looking to keep taking swings at Elon, however he can, which will see Threads get continued focus.
But the biggest impact for X could well be the amount of journalists and media organizations that are now active on Threads, as they look to move away from Elon’s platform.
Elon has been a vocal critic of “mainstream media” and the purported lies told by journalists, at many organizations. It’s this cohort of X users that could end up growing Threads, by shifting their attention to the new app, and eventually, bringing their large audiences across with them.
Elon’s view is that “citizen journalism” is a less biased, more accurate representation, which, in his view at least, will ultimately attract more audience to his platform. But I’d hazard a bet that, over time, Threads will win a large chunk of X users based on this element alone.