Is Threads unravelling or will be it 2024’s thoughtful alternative to X (Twitter)?

Womans hand holding a smart phone with Threads app logo on screen

Social media continues to evolve rapidly, and in the wake of Twitter’s widespread popularity, a new contender emerged this year: Threads. At the same time, X continues to court controversy, both in its long-standing reputation for binary division, and its new owner’s Machiavellian tendencies.

Are social media audiences switching to Threads in their droves? What does this mean for Twitter audiences that have been built up carefully over the last 17 years?

The Emergence of Threads: A New Social Media Landscape

Threads, according to its Meta creators, is designed to encourage more in-depth, meaningful interactions, moving away from the fleeting, often surface-level engagements typical of Twitter. For individuals, especially those seeking more substantive dialogues, Threads promised a refreshing alternative.

So far, though, Threads is not living up to its promise. After a hopeful flurry of engagement when it launched in the summer, SimilarWeb reports that Threads usage is down 79%, and time spent on the app was down 89% just one-month post-launch.

Our take on it is that people are looking for a viable Twitter alternative given the changes that have happened there in recent times, but is Threads that alternative? Not yet.

Threads is young, so predicting usage in a year, even six months, is hard. The drop in excitement is evident, but some interest is still there. The truth is though, that any businesses on the platform will likely have to work very hard to capture and maintain interest on Threads.

Meta has significant reach, and, as a Meta product, it’s unlikely that Threads will fail. It might be given new features and capabilities that re-engage bored users and bring people back.

At Analogy, we’re maintaining what we’re calling ‘experimental distance’ with Threads. This means keeping an eye on the app and how consumers interact with content—observing and tracking what changes over time.

And for those who say Threads is dead in the water already, people once said TikTok would never last, but look at where it is now.

X/Twitter’s Enduring Appeal

Despite the rise of Threads, X/Twitter continues to hold significant appeal. Its real-time nature, broad user base, and established presence still make it a go-to platform for breaking news, trending topics, and quick updates. Organisations still find Twitter invaluable for customer engagement and crisis communication due to its vast and diverse audience.

Comparative Analysis: Usage and Engagement Patterns

In analysing the usage patterns, it’s clear that Threads and Twitter serve somewhat different purposes. Threads is attempting to carve out a niche for those who prefer structured, long-form discussions. In contrast, Twitter remains the hub for broader public conversations, catering to a wider array of interests and activities.

Some organisations are beginning to leverage Threads for in-depth customer engagement, thought leadership, and to build communities around specific topics or products. However, Twitter’s larger user base still makes it the primary choice for broad-reaching marketing campaigns, customer service, and public announcements.

Predicting Trends for 2024

Looking ahead to 2024, several trends seem likely:

  1. Diversified Social Media Strategies: Businesses and individuals will increasingly use a combination of platforms like Threads and Twitter to achieve different objectives. While Twitter will remain essential for wide-reaching communication, Threads may grow as a platform for nurturing specialised communities and detailed conversations.
  2. Increased Demand for Quality Content: The rise of platforms like Threads suggests a growing appetite for quality, thoughtful content. This trend might push Twitter to evolve, perhaps by improving its algorithm to favour more substantial content over mere virality.
  3. Greater Focus on User Experience: Both platforms will likely continue to innovate, prioritising user experience to stay competitive. This could mean more personalised content, improved moderation to reduce toxicity, and enhanced features to support various forms of media.
  4. Shift Towards Niche Marketing: For organisations, the trend will be towards more niche marketing strategies. Threads, with its focus on detailed discussions, could become a key player in targeted marketing efforts, especially for products and services requiring a higher degree of customer education and engagement.
  5. Integration of Advanced Technologies: Both platforms may integrate more advanced technologies like AI and AR/VR to enhance user engagement. This could lead to more immersive and interactive experiences, changing the way we perceive and use social media.

It’s both, and…

While Threads is not exactly the new Twitter, it certainly represents a significant shift in the social media landscape. Both platforms have their unique strengths and cater to different needs.

In 2024, we can expect to see a more diverse, content-rich, and user-centric social media world, where the choice between Threads and Twitter will not be about one replacing the other, but about how each can be used to complement the other in our increasingly digital lives.

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