After months of rumours, Meta's Twitter rival is finally here. Threads launched this morning, and according to Mark Zuckerberg, it's already hit over 10M users. It's certainly making waves – and if the experience of the first few hours is anything to go by, this could be the first Twitter rival with a chance of vanquishing the bird site.
It seems an understatement to suggest that Twitter has been a bit of a mess lately. From recent 'rate limits' on the number of tweets users can view to the reinstatement of countless right-wing accounts, it seems Musk et al are determined to diminish the experience. Enter Threads – already perhaps one of the best Twitter alternatives.
Perhaps the best way to sum up the issues at Twitter is to take a look at the top trending term right now: Threads. And what happens when you click the link? You're shown a bunch of bot-generated spam (below). The platform appears to be well and truly borked.
Threads, on the other hand, looks practically peaceful in comparison. There's an 'early internet' feel to the whole thing right now – tons of users wishing their followers a 'nice day', etc. The interface is clean, it isn't littered with ads. This must all, of course, come with a massive caveat: for now. Threads could unspool like Twitter, or that other Meta platform, Facebook, into a mess of ads and anger. But for now, it's a breath of fresh air compared with Twitter.
But Threads also has a not-so-secret weapon: its deep Instagram integration. From the moment a new user signs up, Threads walks them through the process of importing their account and following the people they're already engaging with on Instagram (check out the tweet below to see it in action).
Here’s THREADS’ entire sign-up process.This is so clean. So easy.- instantly get your Instagram @ handle- auto imports your bio + pic from IG- instantly follow from your IGReallyyy genius way to launch an app. pic.twitter.com/h5yVTZgUI2July 5, 2023
So, unlike the Mastodons and Substack Notes of the world, this is one Twitter rival that comes with a huge existing user-base. This, along with the fact that Twitter seems hell-bent on finding new ways to shoot itself in the foot right now, could be what helps Threads end up on top. Time will tell whether Threads will be the one to take Twitter's crown, but the social media battle has certainly got a lot more interesting in the last 24 hours.