Professor unravels the new Threads app

July 21, 2023

Headshot of Ben Bogardus smiling while wearing a button up and navy blue tie

Threads has entered the conversation — as the latest competitor to Twitter.

Ben Bogardus, interim associate dean for the School of Communications and associate professor of journalism, offered insight on the app’s future.

“In the past, new breakout sites have offered users something unique and different,” he said. “Instagram offered a photo-based platform, Snapchat offered messages that expired, LinkedIn offered a focus on business connections and TikTok offered short viral videos. But, Threads is really just a new version of Twitter that Meta claims is a 'friendlier' platform for users.”

Bogardus said he is interested in seeing if Meta has plans to innovate features to make Threads a more unique app.

One advantage Threads has is that that it does not require one to be a new user, making it simple for anyone with a pre-existing Instagram account to sign-up for a Threads account, he said.

He said he believes the app has the potential to be successful among college students because of its simple method of signing up through its sister app, Instagram, one of the most popular social media platforms among Gen Z.

But he warned that the ease of enrollment can only go so far.

“Students will have to decide if the tweaks Meta has made to the Twitter experience are worth switching over and breaking their social media habits,” said Bogardus. “The question is whether students, and other users, decide the changes on the Threads app are significant enough for them to switch over permanently, or if they can live with Twitter, despite its flaws.”

Bogardus said the biggest drawback to the Threads app is its lack of originality.

“The app doesn’t offer any ‘wow’ factor or innovation in communications,” said Bogardus. “It’s simply the same as Twitter, only without many of the drawbacks, and still lacks some features Twitter already has.”

Without any new or unique functions reshaping our social world, it will be a difficult task for Meta's new app Threads to survive, said Bogardus.

“There is the possibly that other platforms could embrace Thread’s mission to make social media safer and less toxic, but that would only happen if the Threads app proves to be successful,” he said.

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