After months of speculation, and hints of what’s to come, Meta has finally confirmed that its new Twitter-like social app, called ‘Threads’, will be launched globally this week.
Well not quite globally. Due to increased data privacy protections in the EU, Threads won’t immediately be available to European users. But for everybody else, you’ll be able to start building your Threads following from Thursday US time, when the new app becomes available for download in the respective App Store.
Which is a key focus for Meta, in growing the new app. If Zuck and Co. really want to scoop up as many Twitter cast-offs as possible, they’ll need good reason to lure them across, which is why they’re making a concerted effort to get high-profile users posting to the app as soon as, and as much as possible.
According to Business Insider, a range of high-profile users have already been sent an on-boarding guide, which advises them to post to Threads twice a day, at least, in order to get accustomed to the new app.
The guide also notes that each person who joins Threads will get a number indicating when they signed up, and as such, low numbers could carry a degree of social clout, while it also suggests that users share their posts to Instagram Stories to promote the app.
Instagram has reportedly reached out to a range of big-name stars, including Oprah and the Dalai Lama (?) about posting to the app, along with online influencers like Gary Vaynerchuk, in an effort to generate early buzz for the platform.
And that might work. While many users will be hesitant to leave Twitter for another beta platform, if people that you want to hear from start posting there, you’ll probably download the app, just to see what they have to say. That curiosity could then lead to you checking back in more often, which will then lead to you posting your own thoughts, and embedding the app into your regular social media rotation.
It’s a better way to approach the take-up challenge than other Twitter alternatives have adopted thus far – and really, it’s only because it’s coming from Meta that it’s able to make such a high-profile pitch. Celebrities would likely be unmoved by an unknown app getting in touch, but the increased likelihood of this one becoming a thing will see many of them sign-up, at the least, and test it out early on, which could be the critical growth momentum that it needs.
And it is, essentially, Twitter under a different name.
Though I remain surprised that they’ve gone with ‘Threads’ as the app name, given that Meta already launched and canned an app called ‘Threads’ just two years ago.
That app was more focused on DM groups, so it was a lot different. But it just seems cursed, haunted by the failures of apps past.
In any event, Threads is coming, and Meta’s making a big, flashy push to promote the app, in an effort to steal some of Twitter’s thunder, as more Twitter users begin to question whether they want to keep participating in Elon’s own social experiment.
Will it be the Twitter killer? I’m still skeptical that it can take all of Twitter’s thunder – but if there ever was an opportunity, the time is now, and if any company could do it, it would be the Zuckerberg juggernaut.
Meta’s done it before – it basically halted Snapchat’s growth momentum with the launch of Instagram Stories back in 2016, which forced Snap’s team back to the drawing board, and set their strategy back years.
Snapchat is now back to growth, but it’s taken some time for the platform to re-establish its niche, while Stories have continued to grow on Instagram and Facebook.
Maybe that could be Twitter’s fate too. Maybe, this isn’t the Twitter killer as such, but as many advertisers look for a new home, Threads, if it gains momentum, could quickly become relevant, squeezing Twitter even further, and forcing it to reassess its offering.
Maybe it won’t kill Twitter, but it has the best chance to change the Twitter 2.0 roadmap, which could potentially shrink the scope of Elon’s world domination plans.
P.S. You can access your Threads profile code early by typing ‘threads’, ‘P92’, ‘saymore’, ‘ticket’ or ‘1992’ into the Instagram search bar (in the latest version of the app), then tapping on the ticket icon that appears at the right of the search field.