- I'm a reporter who writes about social media platforms and creators.
- I downloaded Threads when it first launched in July and I've persuaded many others to do so too.
The mornings when I'm on vacation in India usually mean several cups of chai and chatting with my mom and grandmother before I scroll through social media — except for that one day in early July. I woke up to dozens of notifications pouring in from friends and sources back home in the US asking me what I thought of the latest app they had all downloaded hours before: Threads.
I'm a reporter who writes about the creator economy, including new trends on social media platforms like TikTok and Snapchat. Though I wasn't on the clock when Threads launched, I was curious to learn more about the new app.
Instagram happens to be my favorite social platform, the one I open first in the morning. Imagine my delight when I discovered its seamless integration with Threads, like how you could import your followers and display your Threads badge.
I vividly remember posting my first Thread with a wide smile on my face, excitedly showing the app to my grandmother who couldn't understand what the hype was about, then disappearing into my room for the rest of the day to endlessly scroll.
It's been six months since. I'm just as active on the app as the day I downloaded it.
I post random thoughts, share my latest published stories, and use it as a forum to find new sources for my reporting. I've found the platform to be so engaging and useful that my unabashed enthusiasm has helped persuade several other journalists and close friends to download the app.
"It's just a really positive space!" I'd tell them. "Think of a much better version of Twitter, one that's integrated with Instagram!"
While Threads was very popular in its early days, boasting 150 million downloads in the first two weeks and becoming the most downloaded app on Apple, its growth has declined considerably. It was slow to roll out many features, like a desktop version and the ability to add attachments to posts. Meanwhile, several people have told me they think the app is just plain boring, with nothing unique to offer.
Still, Insider Intelligence projects Threads' US user base will grow to 30 million in 2024, up from an estimated 23.7 million monthly users by the end of this year.
Even though Threads has lost some steam since its initial launch, I'm optimistic about its future growth for three main reasons.
It's introducing even more features and just launched in the European Union
In the days since Threads was introduced, it's slowly but surely introduced new features, some of which, like the edit button and voice notes, have been applauded by users who want more accessibility. Every time I see a new feature, I notice a spark of new user activity and engagement, which suggests to me that Meta's 2024 plans could make Threads even more popular.
Instagram's Head Adam Mosseri recently announced the platform is expanding in Europe, including countries like Germany and Portugal; the 448 million people in the European Union now have access to the app, so we should expect a surge of activity as they start to browse the interface alongside those in the 100 other countries where Threads is already available.
Mosseri also said his team is working on making Threads available on Fediverse platforms, which are an ensemble of social media networks that communicate with each other, but remain independent. Users on a specific platform in the Fediverse, like Mastodon, can engage with another platform in the network, like Pixelfed even if they're not on it directly. In this case, people who don't have an account on Threads or Instagram but are active on another Fediverse platform would still be able engage with Threads' content.
It feels like a positive and engaged community
As a journalist, Twitter used to be my bread and butter, like so many others in the profession. However, I found the platform to be pretty negative. I'd see so many people use the forum to pen derogatory comments and insult others — and the endless stream of bots in your DMs and comments didn't make things better.
On Threads, the majority of my feed is humorous content or heartfelt posts about making new connections or self-improvement. I haven't seen any bots, yet! Of course, the app is still very new. This could change as more people from around the world hop on and if Meta decides to tack on ads, but so far I've found it to be a warm community.
I'm not the only one who think so. Several content creators since July have told me they like the platform because it feels like they can share their innermost thoughts and no one will judge them.
Two creators also told me they've found Meta to be very responsive to reports of negative comments or disturbing content, which I didn't feel Twitter was on top of.
The presidential election could propel it to new heights of engagement
2024 may be a politically turbulent year with 40 different national elections, including the US Presidential election.
In times like these, millions of people usually take to social media to voice their opinions on candidates. Four years ago when we elected the last US President, I remember Twitter was in a frenzy; a myriad of politicians, journalists, political commentators used the app to break down the latest results and state their predictions
Even though Mosseri has said that Threads is not going to amplify news, the coming year could change that as Twitter continues to lose relevance as the global town square. As a Twitter alternative, Threads could take up the mantle as the go-to platform for people to discuss politics next year.