Remember the rapid rise and fall of the once-promising Threads, the rival to X (formerly known as Twitter). The platform that stormed onto the scene in July, amassing over 100 million users within days, only to see its popularity plummet by the end of the month? Well, Meta, the tech conglomerate behind Facebook and WhatsApp, is making a strategic move to bring Threads back into the spotlight.
Threads, once the buzz of the social media landscape, faltered due to its limited functionalities, leaving users disillusioned. Now, in an attempt to breathe new life into the platform, Meta is introducing a web version of Threads. According to Meta's head, Mark Zuckerberg, the web rollout is set to take place over the next few days.
With this web iteration, users can create threads, explore their feeds, and interact with others' threads. However, not all features from the mobile app will be immediately available on the web version. Functions like profile editing and direct messaging via Instagram, Threads' sister platform, won't be accessible at the start. But Meta promises to enhance functionality progressively, aiming to align the web and mobile experiences.
Meta's decision to provide a web version is seen as a pivotal step, yet experts emphasize the need for further improvement to win back user loyalty. Rebecca McGrath, associate director for media and technology at Mintel, underlines that the initial basic launch frustrated users, who were looking for a polished alternative to Twitter. While the introduction of a web version is encouraging, it's clear that Threads has a journey ahead to regain its foothold.
Despite its past shortcomings, Threads may find hope in the controversies shadowing X. The recent criticisms faced by X, previously Twitter, for handling Holocaust-denying content and Elon Musk's plans to alter the platform's block feature are creating a space for Threads to shine. Tama Leaver, professor of internet studies at Curtin University, points out that Threads needs to work on its search functionality to truly rival X.
Threads might yet regain its momentum with a more advanced version, as McGrath suggests. The desire for an alternative, fueled by X's tumultuous changes, could pave the way for Threads' resurgence. However, time remains a critical factor for Threads' success.
As Meta launches the web version of Threads, it's a bid to recapture the magic of its explosive debut, overcome past limitations, and present users with a compelling alternative in the ever-evolving social media landscape.