There has been no shortage of Twitter rivals in recent years, with the likes of Parler, BlueSky, Spill, Mastodon and Truth Social among others that have been proclaimed the next big thing in concise social messaging to the masses. Yet, the truth remains that even with the backing of former President Donald Trump in the case of Truth Social, it has been near impossible for any platform to reach the popularity of Twitter.
That could change this week as Meta, the parent company of Facebook, announced it would create a new “conversation” app dubbed Threads. The question asked this week is whether it could be an actual Twitter killer or will become just another social app?
Meta’s Brand New Threads
Meta isn’t reinventing the wheel, but it did essentially reinvent social media with Facebook and redefined it again when it acquired Instagram. Now it could leverage its large user base by offering a platform like Twitter but still offering a bit more.
“Based on the mock designs that have been released, Threads’ interface is almost a direct replica of Twitter,” said Luke Lintz, CEO of Highkey Enterprises, a digital marketing and social media firm.
“The major difference between the two platforms will be Threads components, which will likely be more enticing to current and potential Twitter users interested in using a short-form blogging network,” said Lintz. “Threads is also backed by Meta and will be directly connected to people’s Instagram usernames and followers, which will allow the new platform to tap into Instagram’s massive user base from day one, creating a critical mass of users that will drive conversation and engagement on the new platform.”
Enemy With Deep Pockets
Another notable difference this time around is that Twitter is facing a challenge not from a rival most users never heard of, and more importantly Threads could be well-funded in a way even Truth Social wasn’t.
“Twitter is currently strapped for cash and looking for as many ways as possible to extract revenue from users and lower costs, while Meta will spare no expense to take over the market share of short-form blogging with Threads,” added Lintz.
In addition, Threads won’t try to court a particular user base. Whereas Truth Social and Parler were two social media platforms that sought to appeal to a conservative demographic, and Mastodon was all about courting more liberally-minded Twitter users, Threads won’t be so partisan—at least in theory.
Luring Twitter Users
Threads could lure users away from Twitter—notably those who are frustrated by Elon Musk’s new policies related to Twitter Blue, as well as the updates he announced last week, including limiting the number of Tweets each user can read each day.
“It remains to be seen but hope is running high for a Twitter alternative—particularly after this past weekend’s double whammy of account-locking and piling on with its introduction of rate limits,” added Susan Schreiner, technology and social media analyst at C4 Trends. “As if this wasn’t enough, Twitter also broke TweetDeck, long used by power-users and teams, allowing multiple users to log in and manage group accounts or showing you all the tweets being faved/liked by the accounts you follow.”
Twitter arguably soared to great heights because it democratized communications, and it initially enabled a voice for anyone and as time went on, people realized how it could affect culture and it became a town square for all.
“It even gave the powerless a sense of power and being heard. Now, one of the richest people in the world has broken Twitter even more and silence voices in the name of greed or perhaps his own personal political bias,” warned Schreiner.
The easy connection between Instagram and Threads could allow for easier functionality and increased exposure for creators.
“There will be no restriction on the amount of Threads you can load daily,” said Lintz. “The interface will likely be better than Twitter because Meta has a lot more capital to spend on research and development compared to Twitter, which has been cutting costs and laying off thousands of technical people.”
It Is Meta’s Battle To Lose
It was last month that Elon Musk tweeted that he’d be “up for a cage fight” with Mark Zuckerberg, and while many found humor in it, the actual joke could be on Musk. Whether there is an actual cage match is still yet to be seen, but Musk may have put Twitter in a position where it can be taken down by a rival.
“Elon Musk has set a near-perfect storm for Threads to displace Twitter rapidly. He has driven users away from the platform lowering the risk for people who remain on it to lose contacts if they move, both users and advertisers are highly displeased with what he has done to the platform; he has been dumping employees at an alarming rate creating substantial resources for Threads to acquire them to focus the competitive effort better,” explained technology industry analyst Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group.
Though others have tried, there may be a decent chance that Twitter may have met its match—and without the need for a cage for the respective company heads to climb into.
“Threads could bypass Twitter using Twitter’s disenfranchised and existing user base to get there,” added Enderle. “In short, Threads is only a Twitter killer because Musk has already all but killed Twitter. Zuckerberg only needs to deliver the killing blow.”