Threads vs Twitter - A New Challenger Approaches

I had promised myself that I wouldn't do anything work related as I prepare for my birthday tomorrow but when something big drops, I can't exactly ignore it. Meta has just dropped Threads, their new "Twitter Clone" and it's become popular almost immediately. It's reached 30 million sign ups in only 24 hours, if Mark Zuckerberg himself is to be believed. Elon Musk, on the other hand, is clearly feeling threatened as he has already suggested he will launch an, arguably frivolous, lawsuit against Meta for doing so...

So, what makes this so interesting? There's already been hundreds of twitter competitors that have come and gone in the months since Musk took over the blue bird app. Frankly, it's the scale of adoption. I was personally hoping that Blue Sky would take over but unfortunately they have seemingly seen the same issue as Club House (if anyone even remembers them) - namely that by limiting signups with invitations, they have allowed other platforms like Threads to swoop in and take the audience share first. Threads allowed anyone with an instagram account to sign up quickly and almost out of the blue (pardon the pun), which I think has clearly had an impact on how quick adoption has been.

The other interesting thing about Threads is that it has seemingly been built to be part of the "Fediverse". If that sounds familiar to you, then you may recognise it from the first twitter replacement that people flocked to, Mastodon. It uses the same decentralised protocol called "ActivityPub" under the hood which means in theory, at some point in the future, both Threads and Mastodon servers will be able to @ one another.

It's not that Threads is simply another Mastodon Server though, it instead acts as gateway to the Fediverse in a much more user friendly way. My big issue with Mastodon is that it was doomed to struggle with those who weren't technically savvy; understanding that your friend is on another social server was a big sticking point. Threads solves this by looking on the outside to be just another social network by Meta - a simplified version of Twitter without all the added bits that made Twitter feel bloated in recent years (Fleets, Spaces, NFT Avatars etc). It has been designed to support this, however, as it already shows the account location on profiles, even if this wider integration is still missing.

You can see that is clearly shown next to my username on my profile
You can see that is clearly shown next to my username on my profile

It's not all sunshine and rainbows though as a few key issues have already been found. Firstly, you need an existing Instagram account to use it. Whilst your followers and posts are separate, your avatar and username are shared. You are also unable to delete your Threads account without also deleting your Instagram account, so if you're not sure about Threads yet, maybe hold off on creating that account. It's also missing a web client right now. If someone links you a post like so, then you can view the Threads Thread (we need a better name for this guys) in your browser but you can't post threads or even sign up from said browser until they maybe make that a thing. You can still enjoy the Twitter vs Threads memes on various platforms.

Threads Memes have been popping up everywhere
Threads Memes have been popping up everywhere

So where does that leave us. Well, right now people seem to be enjoying Threads and its more conversational tone. It doesn't have ads and people are still figuring it out. Threads feels very much like Twitter did for the first few years if you were using Twitter back then. As for if it will survive? I'm hopeful. Threads seems to be popular and not just because it's the new "hot thing". It is missing some features that will be required for it to last but the team working on the platform seem to be making improvements already.

I think time will tell if Threads manages to completely swallow the void that Twitter has been creating as Musk slowly rides it into oblivion. I'm sure as it gains further support I might be able to consider moving the webmention comments of this blog over (in order to keep those around) and I may need to add support for linking Threads accounts over on Not Another CV.

In the meantime, feel free to follow me both on Twitter and Threads until we see who remains victorious.

github issue


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