In July 2023, Meta officially unveiled Threads, a new app for short, real time updates and public conversations – essentially an alternative to X (or what was then, Twitter). The platform’s auto-populated signup, easy-to-use interface, and seamless integration with Instagram had may media outlets dubbing the new platform as the “Twitter Killer.”
In fact, CNN Business reports that by July 10, more than 100 million people had signed up for Threads, making it “one of the fastest-growing apps in history.” However, since I initially published my blog introducing Threads in July, Meta has grappled with reports of declining user count, stagnant activity, and minimal engagement.
While it’s only been two months and few social media sites experience overnight success, the app’s alleged downfall has many wondering if Threads is officially dead or just a victim of near overnight, unprecedented growth.
I decided to ask the Maven team if they think Threads is officially over and if so, what went wrong?
- Emily Kanter: “I’m not sure I’ve figured out the differentiator between Threads and X – to me it seems like the same features and similar user base. If I’m active on X, why should I download and use another version?”
- Me (Emily White): “I’m not sure if Threads will survive for the long-term, but I also don’t think declining activity means it’s dead on arrival. For me, it all comes down to engagement. If Threads makes updates to improve user engagement (like adding desktop capability and search functions, which is popular for Twitter users), and users log on and regularly see updates from the people, brands, and organizations they care about, I wouldn’t rule out the platform just yet.”
- Abby Stryker: “If we consider past platform launches like Instagram and TikTok, the apps took off immediately, and Threads obviously hasn’t. I think it’s because social media users prefer images and video rather than text-dominant platforms like X or Threads. Furthermore, I think users are satisfied with the platforms we have… it’s hard to match TikTok’s 1.7 billion monthly users.”
- Kaitlyn Gage: “Regardless of X facing challenges under Elon Musk’s ownership, the site has still been around for 17 years – garnering hundreds of millions of users and a strong, established sense of community. A competing platform needs to have some sort of differentiator or to solve common issues with X to entice users to make the switch long-term. So far, it seems like Threads only has the aspects of X that users dislike, such as being dominated by brands and celebrity posts rather than organic conversations between users. It can take a long time for consumers to habitually adopt a product, but if Threads doesn’t make improvements to fundamental features on their platform (like adding more refined search functionality), I think X will remain supreme.”
- Veronica Mikitka Reed: “I did research about Threads before I was going to try it. When I saw I couldn’t delete my Threads account without deleting my Instagram account, I decided to wait a little to see if Threads was a platform worth joining.”
- Joey Niedziejko: “With so much competition among social platforms to keep users engaged and connected, I think Threads is too generic to keep users’ attention long-term. Threads feels like a “spite” social media site due to Mark Zuckerburg and Elon Musk’s feud (anyone remember the spite coffee store episode on Curb Your Enthusiasm?). However, if X plans to start charging users, then we could see more and more people flocking to Threads.”
In a recent interview with CNN, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg remained optimistic and mentioned looking into “retention-driving hooks” to keep users engaged. At the end of the day, only time will tell if the platform can scale sustainably to stick around for the long-term. Twitter’s shifting plans for the future, including exploring subscription models, will also undoubtedly impact the outlook for Threads.
For more on maximizing social media for your business, check out the Maven blog for additional content, including “2023 Social Media Trends” and “LinkedIn For Business Development: Features You Might Not Know About.”