Twitter has seen a lot of changes, and there are many controversies that have erupted since Elon Musk bought it.
Twitter has had two sides. First, the Twitter Files exposed government-endorsed censorship and even government-led suppression of conservative voices. Second, there is the technical aspect. Free features that have been around for a long time are now behind a paid-for paywall. New features also seem to break things.
But the microblogging feature of Twitter has long been the envy of other social media companies, who have since incorporated various forms of “status updates” into their basic infrastructure to allow users to share their thoughts. Twitter originated this, and others have utilized it.
Meta, a social media platform that is a major rival to Twitter, has two main apps with a huge number of users: Facebook and Instagram. Facebook’s status updates already include a microblogging function, but Instagram is a place for photos only. Meta released its new app Threads on Wednesday. It is linked to Instagram, but it looks and feels like a Twitter-derived product.
Instagram is a social network that only exists as an app. Users can create a profile, and then begin posting status updates. The focus of Instagram is short text posts, similar to Twitter.
What are the pros? The pros? It’s an entirely new social network that integrates your existing network of friends. Followers of Instagram can begin by following other Instagram users, giving them a ready-made audience. This gives the network a big advantage over other apps, such as “Bluesky,” Twitter’s latest venture (Bluesky had to close down new registrations).
Parler, Mastodon Truth Social, Bluesky, and other attempts to counter Twitter have been made in the past. They quickly became echo chambers like those on Twitter. Just more intense and segregated. Most people use Instagram and Facebook to connect with their family and friends. This makes the audience of the app different.
At least for now.
The cons? There’s currently no chronological timeline and no way to only see threads from people you follow. It’s possible to change the settings so that posts from people you follow appear first. However, you will inevitably start seeing people who you do not follow and influencers. It can be frustrating to see posts that aren’t related to your interests, especially if the algorithm is still trying its best.
It doesn’t take the algorithm long to get to know you. This is good, but it can also be a little freaky. It will be affected by the content that you upload, so I’m not sure if it will truly compete with Twitter or coexist.
It’s only available as an app. Users with old eyes or those who spend a lot of time in front a computer are not able to flip between tabs and check their threads feed. Instagram, which is only available as an app, has a growing user base.
There isn’t much politics among the people I follow. This includes several writers and political thinkers. Except for those who created Instagram accounts in order to be politically active (and ruin the experience of everyone).
This is why I believe there’s a possibility that the two apps will be used for different purposes. Twitter is still functional, and while many people think it’s a small window, there are people who use Twitter to share their political views and ideas. Instagram is a microblogging application that has a more intimate connection with friends and family. The expectations for behavior on Instagram, however, are quite different. This could affect the way people use the app.
It may not take long for Threads to become everything that makes Twitter an absolute hell site. The cynic inside me predicts that it will be a matter of a few days. It’s still a new way to view the timeline, where I’m not forced to see all of the negative politics.