Threads Launched One Month Ago: Is the Grass Greener? — People First Content
When Meta (or, I guess, Instagram) launched Threads in July, I quickly packed my things and visited the platform to see what all the hype was about.
As you know, the place we used to call Twitter has been undergoing unnecessary changes and renovations. Blue check marks used to be for people who actually deserve it. But now, anyone willing to pay $8/month can get one. There were limits to how much content we could consume in a day. They even changed the name completely!
X? No more tweety bird? The home I briefly left looked a lot different from the one I came back to. The interior of the house still looks and works the same. But the exterior got an extreme makeover. It essentially got gentrified! However, they may change how it looks and what it’s called. I will still call it Twitter — because that’s what I called it growing up and what I will forever know it as.
Back to the main topic at hand. I returned to share my thoughts and experiences as I journeyed through Threads. I wrote a piece on Threads earlier detailing my initial thoughts.
I praised its potential, going as far as to say that “Threads may soon dominate Twitter.” After a month of existence and some time exploring the app, was it the Twitter alternative we all hoped it would be?
Sadly, I can’t say that it is.
Threads Was Fun at First
When I first joined Threads, there was one thing that I immediately enjoyed about the app. And that was its simplicity. There’s only one feed. A very basic (but limiting) search tab. A notifications tab. And your profile. The simple setup makes it user-friendly and easy to navigate.
The first days of Threads were fun. Everyone who joined was simply excited to be there. The feed was filled with jokes and comedy content — mostly poking fun at Twitter’s days are numbered.
Surprisingly, the vibes were positive. You’d be hard pressed to find toxic users or content on your feed. Even though the feed showed you content from people you don’t follow, you still wouldn’t see any negative or hateful posts. It was pretty refreshing.
Threads really felt like a safe space. People could have healthy conversations without being judged for it. Any disagreements were handled through nuanced and friendly debates. As one of my friends beautifully put it — it’s like a “giant group chat.”
The newness of Threads — and its connection to Instagram — is why it was one of the fastest-growing social media platforms. It quickly surpassed 100 million users in only five days. Absolutely incredible numbers.
While there are things to like in Threads, I’m afraid my positive findings stop there.
Threads Is Far From Good
After a month of exploring Threads, I got bored. Really bored.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s still a very positive environment. Still user-friendly. But the shiny new toy syndrome quickly wore off for me — as it did for many others. The number of daily active users on Threads fell to 13 million, a nasty 70% drop in its second week of launch. Why such a dramatic drop?
It’s still an unfinished project
It’s still an unfinished project
Granted, the app is still a work in progress. You’re quite limited in what you can do — which is okay for right now. We are seeing the very basic version of what Threads could be. They have a working feed where you can post, repost, like, comment, and share content.
But some notable features are missing.
- No DMs
- No feed or timeline that shows only content from people you follow
- No real search engine. Threads’ search engine is only optimized to look for users, not content — which is also Instagram’s weakness. So you’d have a difficult time looking up trending topics and posts related to your interests.
This comment from a Threads user perfectly describes the current state of Threads:
You can’t expect it to be everything you want it to be right away. You got to let it grow and develop. Surely over time, they will change or add more features to give users more to play with while on the platform. However, as of today, it’s still not enough to lure Twitter users and creators toward Threads.
Instagram users aren’t interested in it
Here is my main theory as to why Threads suffered a major drop in active users: Instagram users are simply not interested. They’re not all that excited about a text-based app.
I did a quick survey on my Instagram story asking how many of my followers would use Threads. My followers are primarily my friends and people I’ve worked with in the marketing industry. I gave them three options:
- “Probably not”
- “I don’t even use Twitter. Why would I use Threads?”
The last option was silly, but the sentiment is relevant. It ran for 24 hours and received 24 responses. My sample size does not represent the general population, but the reactions are still telling.
The results? 88% of my friends had little to no interest in using Threads. What’s even more intriguing for me is that 42% don’t use Twitter and don’t have a reason to be on Threads. This shows that nearly half of my friends had no interest in a text-based app from the start. It didn’t appeal to them, possibly because Twitter wasn’t a place to connect with friends but more to hold conversations.
On the other hand, Instagram allows people to share personal tidbits of their lives with friends through photos and videos. The visual-based platform is much more appealing than a text-based one. So when many users joined Threads to see what it was all about, they realized it was exactly what they disliked about Twitter in the first place.
So while Threads being connected to Instagram was an intelligent move numbers-wise — Instagram has 2 billion monthly active users — you could say that they’re not the ideal audience for it. And we are seeing that in the consistent drop in active users on the platform.
The Grass Is Not Green Yet
So while I did visit Threads, I didn’t stay for long. I realized that my home at Twitter still gives me everything I need and more — even though an X-man has completely vandalized the outside of it without my approval. But I digress.
I don’t know how often I’ll go back to Threads. It’s not necessarily conducive to the community I want to build. Nonetheless, I will still claim it as my rental home, while Twitter remains my official home.