A short story of Threads

While we were preparing our Pinterest board and sketching our 2024 list of resolutions, a new social media platform emerged at the end of last year.

Mark Zuckerberg, a student in 2004, created Facebook as a platform for all needs – a channel where you can post any type of content, from photos to text only – until business profiles took over personal pages, decreasing its overall engagement among people. The first step to regaining user interaction was Instagram, the visual app, where people focused on posting inspirational content to watch. I guess the following step was to create another place where the inspirational content is read.

And so, the long-waited Threads app was launched in Romania on December 14th, 2023, 6 months later after its appearance in the U.S.

CATEGORY
CONTRIBUTOR

Mona Barbu
Social Media Specialist

Why Threads when Twitter/X?

Americans were not wowed by this replica of Twitter, as the former platform was well rooted in their DNA long before Instagram and Threads. Even though Threads promised longer form content for in-depth discussions, the legacy of X and its already stable community won over the not-so-innovative product of Meta.
Before its official launch, in Romania, I couldn’t help to think that the most desirable thing about this new app would’ve been the verified Threads badge shining on people’s Insta feeds. I admit as a social media manager, I was quite thrilled, dreaming of a fresh platform as hyped as X, with real time content, short updates, and new strategic perspectives for awareness. The reactions, however, surprised me.
It’s no secret that, at the moment, gen Z are ruling the internet. They are the masters of trends and born early adopters. I was instantly won over the virgin land of written content in a manner that only Jimmy Kimmel would’ve predicted.

Threads had no rules: no censorship, no banning for inappropriate content

Remember the 2016 viral mean tweets series? That’s the feeling I got after one week exploring Threads, but instead of celebrities, there were youngsters seeking controversial reactions, and instead of roasting, there were toxic behaviors and aggressive reposts about what may or may not be true information.
Threads had no rules: no censorship, no banning for inappropriate content, no filter for a curated feed. I only got the most appreciated posts in my location area. Basically, when joining Threads, you get to see accounts that follow the key visibility factors: user interactions (likes, replies, follows), the number of posts viewed, recent activity, and profile views.
I get that feeling I get every time I create a new TikTok profile for a brand that is not familiar with the app. How do I explain its potential when its main page looks like internet wonderland in its trashiest version? Or in this case, how can I spread the fog so I can reach relevant information, and people genuinely interested in sharing valuable content.
So, I let it be. I watched some accounts getting hundreds of thousands of followers in 3 weeks, and others trying at least to be the initiators of the thread. I read and listened until the fire stopped. But how did it stop?
At the end of the year, Meta decided to give its users more control, allowing them to decide how sensitive or how much fact-checked is the content seen on each app.

Rules are made to be broken, but here, we run from them

Following this update, the Threads Romania followed the history of the U.S, reaching an 80% decrease in terms of activity, and minutes spent on app, compared to the launch month.
Three months later, on the 5th of March, we confronted a 3-hour Meta blackout, when I relogged on X after many months. There was this tweet, that popped onto my screen. Officially “no one cares”:

For me, the question that follows is: Is there room for a new communication channel with viral potential, or does it take another cataclysmic event (e.g.: 2020s pandemic) to turn our attention to „something else”?

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