I didn’t know how to name this post (So I took the headline from Google Search People Also Ask, hah). But for days now, watching Threads and all this content about Threads launch, I’ve been asking myself one simple question: “Why does everyone keep talking about Threads in the context of killing Twitter?”
Certainly, there’s a lot about the irritation from Elon Musk in this; since buying Twitter, he has lost much of his charm and has become an almost constant criticism object.
But let’s look at one simple fact: Meta has already launched competitor products to other apps. They copied from Snapchat; they copied from TikTok.
And what? Hello, Snapchat. Are you alive?
What about you, TikTok? Are you still with us?
Maybe that was only 2 times when Meta got into a side-by-side fight with a competitor by offering the same thing?
Look at this:
- Facebook Gaming vs Twitch
- Workspace by Facebook vs Slack
- Instagram Live vs Periscope
- Facebook Marketplace vs eBay
- Facebook Places vs Foursquare
- Facebook Groups vs Reddit
- IGTV vs YouTube
You can read even more in this article on Axios.
And most of their attempts to copycat other services failed. Actually, 18 of 27, that’s almost 70%.
Is Threads a threat to Twitter?
Now let’s face it. Threads is an Instagram extension. Putting everything around aside, it’s exactly it. Not a new social network and not a new social platform. It’s just another way Instagram users can interact with each other.
I would compare it to adding messages to Instagram. No one expected it to kill messengers back then, did they? There was just another way for Instagram users to interact.
The same works for Instagram Reels. That wasn’t a feature to bring TikTok users to Instagram but a feature to open new horizons for Instagram users — the same with Stories and disappearing messages.
And that way, we can draw a brave assumption – copycats usually succeed when they’re about new features for existing users:
- “Hm, I’m an Instagram user, and now I can chat with my friends there. Cool, when I forward the kitty picture to my friend, we will have a small talk about how that’s cute!”
- “Wow, now I can post stories about my life on Instagram? That’s cool!”
- “I can watch short videos when I’m tired of scrolling ribbons with photos and ads? Great! That’s enough to kill some of my spare time!”.
- “Wait, what? Now I can download another app and write my staff to my Instagram followers. And no need to put this in my Instagram profile? Cool, I’ll try it!”
Actually, that’s the way people that aren’t deep inside in all this Musk-Twitter-Zuckerberg Santa Barbara see the new Threads app.
My Instagram is pretty boring, I occasionally post my photos there, but I’ve never used it as a public space. It could have been a good tool to talk about something interesting, though. But on Instagram, I’m mostly followed by people I went to high school and college with. It’s more about social presence than interaction with followers.
You know, all these people you’ve known for a long time, you like their pics, they like yours. And that’s it; I wouldn’t want to see too much of myself in my feed if I were my typical follower.
Still, sometimes I got the idea to make Instagram cards or write Instagram posts and talk about something I thought was interesting — a blogerrish-post of sorts.
But one thing that always stopped me was, “Wait, all my followers aren’t following me to be my readers. They signed up because an Instagram subscription is just a signal that, yes, dude, we know each other.”
I even thought to create one more Instagram profile so that I would have 2 of them: one for me, a friend-Vlad (hey, keep following me, I will drop my photo time-to-time), and the second for me, a pro-Vlad (hey, follow me if you want to read about tech/history/economy/finance/politics).
It may sound a bit silly, but that’s exactly how a lot of people think. Not everyone wants to run a pack of cards or write a long post. But many people don’t share their thoughts/ideas on Instagram. If you don’t believe me, pick 10 random followers and see what’s on their profile. Usually, there will just be pictures with simple captions.
At its core, Instagram is still an app for sharing pics. Yes, Stories have changed a lot, and many people post things they’d like to share there. But it’s only for 24 hours.
And it’s also inconvenient. I think you’ve noticed how after some story with a question comes 10 more stories with answers to the story. And then with the answers to the answers. And then…
So I’d rather wonder, “Will people start posting fewer stories?”
Threads is not about Twitter. It’s about Instagram
I think it’s already clear where I’m going with this. No, Threads will not kill Twitter. Just like Stories and Masks didn’t kill Snapchat. Just like Reels didn’t kill TikTok.
You’ll say: wait, but those things Meta copied because they were on the take.
True, it’s different with Twitter.
Except we forget that Twitter was never on the takeoff. It was never rocking like other social networks. And it’s not about Musk; it’s just about the bluebird nature.
Twitter has always been silly compared to Facebook, Instagram, and other social media. Simply because Twitter could never become mainstream, it’s specific enough.
Seriously, it’s not like we’re comparing Instagram to Reddit. Or Reddit and Facebook. Everyone understands that’s stupid. Reddit takes too much effort to be in. So does Twitter.
Unlike Facebook or Instagram, where you must create a profile, follow, and occasionally stop by to flip through your photo feed, Twitter requires participation. At the very least, you have to find what you want to read. But usually, you’re here to leave comments and post your staff.
So Twitter’s audience is a pretty special audience that spends quite a bit on the site/app.
Of course, Threads’ launch wasn’t a cold launch; it already has an Instagram audience. But what does that mean in the context of a standoff with Twitter? Exactly nothing. It’s just that those who were actively using Instagram will now be able to write threads as well.
The numbers could be 10 million, 100 million, or a billion. In the context of the confrontation with Twitter, this means exactly nothing.
Maybe some of those who actively used Instagram but kept Twitter for microblogging will switch to Threads, but in the end, it will not be decisive for Twitter.
What’s more, some of the people who first try text blogging, thanks to Threads, will end up switching to Twitter. And that’s how, unwittingly, Mark Zuckerberg could help Elon Musk.