Great post Aatir. My 2ct on this situation.

I think this is roughly an ad poach play from Zuck. The problems you’ve highlighted in the product are too big for this to be anything else. And the other identified bits like potential mission (“fairer censorship”) don’t match with what FB are doing on other platforms.

It’s been a couple of months now and we hear less and less from Threads. Or at least I do. Which makes me think Zuck saw an opportunity to grab something at a very low cost, take a stand, and have a little play with a new product (and poke the Elon-bear, which he seems to enjoy doing regardless!).

I’m curious to see if anything actually comes out of it. Although my comment seems cynical, I actually think even if nothing comes out of it, this is a great play. We need massive companies like FB to take bets like that, shake things up! I love it.

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Same here. The hype has cliffed and I don't hear about it much apart from blogs making social media channel comparisons. Marketers have stopped sharing Threads guides too :) Even though I have it installed, I rarely even get notifications.

It does seem like it was a move to grab the spotlight and flex for a bit.

I could sense Elon wanted to win the adulation back when, in an unprecedented move, X started dishing out money to creators. Just months prior, they were downsizing and monetizing blue ticks because they apparently were woefully in the red.

I think Meta will still persist with Threads for the other reasons mentioned in the post but the platform won't become a Twitter replacement as the de facto town square. It's lost that impetus to convince loyalists otherwise. It'll stabilize as an Instagram buddy app unless they crank up a new angle.

I feel you when you say more companies need to take big bets. This is especially true for the social space where innovation has seemingly stopped at short form videos.

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This feels like more of a segment grab, with a liberal pour of hubris, to me.

We often talk about social media platform like they're all basically the same. Some people choose Instagram, others Twitter, or if you're my Nan, Facebook. But that's not really true. Different platforms attract different types of people. If I'm a photographer, I gravitate towards Instagram. If I prefer wit and physical constraint (remember when the 140 character tweet was a thing?), I will have Twitter as my primary platform. If I prefer longform content, I'll be on Substack (written) or Youtube (video). I may have other social media accounts, but often they serve as a x-promo funnel to trickle in a few extra views.

Threads is important to Meta because it gives access to a different type of data input. It's virgin territory, and a fresh set of eyeballs for advertising - even if the accounts are the same (i.e. I'm on Insta and I'm on Threads), the context shift is sufficient to sell extractive PPC packages to advertisers. I'm no expert, but I also suspect that short form content is more effective at targeting ads to users than images (through ML and AI models), so it possibly has a side effect of making Instas (woeful) advertising targeting more effective.

But deep in my heart I fear that this is really just one tech billionaire trying to flex harder than another. Where Elon failed, Zuck will overcome. Where Twitter (sorry, X) was toxic, Threads will be a digital utopia where everyone will be kind (and if they are not, our LLM models will make censor them out of existence under the guide of a more kind environment).

Color me skeptical 😔

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Jul 10, 2023Liked by Aatir Abdul Rauf

Loved the breakdown, Aatir.

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Jul 10, 2023·edited Jul 10, 2023Liked by Aatir Abdul Rauf

Love the analysis. I'm surprised to see that poor onboarding. Unfortunately, Threads is still unavailable in Poland.

One issue bothers me. Typical retention after 1 month for a mobile app is only about 40%. I'd love to see how many people can get to their Aha moment, for example:

- followed at least 30 creators (do Instagram friends posting half-naked pictures count as creators?)

- viewed at least 1000 threads

- reacted to at least 10 threads

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Thanks Pawel.

True that, I'm also suspecting a lot of these will be dead accounts that never materialize into a post. I'd be interested to see their 14 day retention cohort analysis too to check how well they're creating habits to return.

Every social network has a core content creator community and a bunch of passive consumers. However, if the ratio is lopsided, the ecosystem goes into a spiral. So, the aha moments for both audiences would be different. As you rightly mentioned, for a passive reader it could be threads read or reacted to. For a creator, it might be a streak of posts.

Also, there's a reason why Instagram users didn't try out Twitter early on - not everyone is meant to write. It's a hard skill and takes time to master.

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By the way, I'm curious how many people remember about Poke ;) https://www.businessinsider.com/everyone-is-talking-about-how-facebook-tried--and-failed--to-copy-yet-another-popular-startup-2012-12?IR=T

That story started similarly:

"Facebook pushed distribution of Poke through its already massive installed Facebook iOS app, and Poke quickly shot to number one in Apple's iTunes App Store (...)

But then something funny started happening.

Poke started dropping in the iTunes rankings. It sank to 34th. Then to 39. Now it's down to 50. Snapchat, meanwhile, remains the third most popular app in the store."

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Jul 10, 2023Liked by Aatir Abdul Rauf

Very nice analysis

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Great article

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