The recent buzz in the tech world has been dominated by Elon Musk’s move to rename Twitter as “X,” but an even more significant narrative is unfolding around Meta’s Threads. Initially hailed as a potential Twitter rival, Threads has taken an unexpected turn, going from a blazing start to a disappointing setback since its launch on July 5.
Threads burst onto the scene with an impressive 100 million-plus users within its first days, a feat that took Twitter nearly two years to achieve back in 2006. Yet, the initial excitement surrounding Threads has proven short-lived.
According to Similarweb, Threads experienced a sharp decline in daily active users, plummeting from 49 million on its peak day, July 7, to just 23 million a mere week later. Despite Meta’s substantial financial backing, how did this dramatic decline occur?
We’ve witnessed its transformation from an aspiring Twitter replacement to a lackluster imitation. Initially, Threads lacked essential features like a desktop version, hashtags, direct messaging, visible analytics, or clear information on trending topics. Instead, the Threads timeline relied on Meta’s algorithm, often presenting content from unfamiliar accounts or repurposed Instagram and Twitter posts from those I followed.
On July 25, Meta introduced some updates, including a “following” tab for chronological posts and improved notification sorting. However, these enhancements proved ineffective if users’ connections were inactive on the platform or if their content struggled to engage followers.
Unveiling a platform more akin to Facebook than Twitter, Threads appeared to cater to a one-to-network approach similar to Instagram, LinkedIn, or Facebook. This shift led to users encountering posts from accounts pigeonholed by Meta’s algorithm, reminiscent of content they might have been avoiding on Facebook.
Threads, in essence, appears to be another instance of Meta’s attempt to replicate existing platforms instead of innovating. We’ve seen this before with Instagram copying Snapchat’s Stories and Reels to rival TikTok. The history of failed Facebook features, such as Facebook Deals and Facebook Messages, further underscores this pattern.
In a world where screen time is already extensive, the demand for yet another social media app, especially a lackluster one, seems limited. With the average American spending over seven hours daily on screens and significant time dedicated to existing apps, there’s little room for new entrants.
The early attention garnered by Threads may have been more about curiosity than genuine excitement. Many hoped for Threads to succeed only to witness Elon Musk stumble. However, it’s unlikely that Musk and his X venture are losing sleep over Threads anymore.