Yesterday, Meta finally launched its much-touted Twitter competitor, Threads. But you didn't need us to tell you that – the thing has been all over the news and enjoyed over 30M signups in the first 24 hours. Early indicators suggest Threads is a hit – but is social media now reaching peak blandness?
Twitter seems to have existed in a state of constant chaos since Elon Musk took over, with the platform infested with bugs and bad decisions. This has left the door open for a bunch of Twitter rivals to attempt to usurp the hellsite, with Threads perhaps the most likely to succeed. But do they all need to look exactly the same?
Gotta say, it feels like we missed an opportunity to reinvent social. Can you tell them apart? pic.twitter.com/IcPPGJHHihJuly 6, 2023
App designer Andy Allen shared (above) an image of five current social media platforms: Threads, Twitter, Bluesky, Mastodon and Post News. And there's no denying that all five appear to share pretty much exactly the same UI. A feed of short text posts, circular profile images and lower menu are all present and correct – indeed, I'd believe you if you told me these were all the same app.
Indeed, it's a far cry from the days of yore when we basically had Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube all offering different experiences for different communities. As Allen notes, "Different tools will create drastically different communities. After 6+ years of broad awareness of social's pitfalls, we should hope for something better. Think of the rich variety of experiences we have in our social lives."
“We wanted flying cars, instead we got 7 Twitter clones.” https://t.co/MavyysZCcPJuly 6, 2023
Mobile-first web design and mobile app design has become so boring it’s painful. https://t.co/uTM0wmUcFDJuly 6, 2023
While one could argue that rival Twitter apps are taking an 'If it ain't broke...' approach – but then again, the whole point is that Twitter supposedly is broke. Is it too much to ask for something new? Given that the Instagram algorithm so aggressively favours short-form, TikTok-esque video these days, we've no doubt creatives would love to see a more visual platform for sharing work – but instead we'll have to make do with 7+ Twitter clones.
Still, we've been impressed with the launch of Threads – the onboarding process and rich Instagram integration are two not-so-secret weapons that could help it destroy Twitter. If only we could work out what the logo is supposed to be.