The promise of direct, text-based communication in a public forum has never been fully realized.
Sure, you can text with friends, but that’s a closed network. On Twitter, sharing your micro-thoughts has led to macro-problems related to troll-like behavior, abuse, harassment, and constant arguments.
Strip away all of the fanfare of well-crafted photos (many of them from stock photo agencies) and videos made by marketing companies and what you are left with is just one person sharing pithy statements and memes, in most cases.
And now, there’s Threads.
I’ve been testing the app like everyone else the last two days, and so far I’m impressed with the simple mechanics of posting, the threaded conversations, and the polite interactions between people who are also curious about the latest social media launch.
This is so much like Twitter that it’s a little scary, though. Only Meta could launch an app like this that is so brazenly ripping off the original micro-blogging platform, with no fear of lawsuits or users crying foul. I have yet to see a single post on Threads suggesting that the app is a Twitter clone, which doesn’t surprise me since we’re all trying to stay positive. It’s another slick social media app designed to let us share our thoughts with the world. Why would anyone have a problem with that?
Well, for starters — there isn’t really anything new here at all. I’ve mentioned before how Truth Social was a disaster from day one because it didn’t offer a new experience. Instead of retweets you can share a “retruth” instead. On Threads, you can do a rethread. That all sounds a bit familiar.
And yet, there’s something about it. The clean interface makes it easy and fast to scroll through what your connections are saying, without all of the fluff. Like author Jon Acuff noted on Threads recently, he is a writer and gravitates to text-based messaging. Same here. I often don’t post on Instagram simply because I’m not that into photography or video. I don’t make any reels or stories because it’s just not in my main wheelhouse. I’ve always preferred Twitter for that reason, which is what makes the Threads launch so interesting.
If you think about it, Twitter is essentially a far more advanced version of Threads without the abuse (so far). I have 59 followers on Threads right now, and about 18,500 on Twitter. Do I really want to babysit another app and build up my followers from scratch? Not really.
I could see the Threads app catching on, and it already has, but in terms of real lasting staying power, I am not sure why I would bother building up my Threads platform and posting constantly.
If anything, what Threads might accomplish is to remind people that text-based messaging has value, and they might decide to stick with Twitter for that.
Say what you want about Elon Musk (and, believe me, I have said a lot) and his plans to make a free and open portal, the core concept behind Twitter — which he did not invent — is still sound. Remove the layers. Make communication fluid and easy. Take out all of the eye candy. Threads might have all of that, and I like it. I may even gravitate to Threads and start posting more. But I’m going to get quickly overloaded by the effort required to manage another app and build up a following. I’ve already invested 10 years doing that on Twitter.