I joined Twitter in May 2008, about two years after Jack Dorsey sent out the first-ever tweet. The early years on Twitter were fun. I connected with colleagues in other cities, shared marathon-training tips, and bantered about the Red Sox. When I downloaded Threads last night, it felt similar.
Threads isn’t perfect. There are a lot of adjustments needed to enhance the user experience. But you know what else isn’t perfect? Twitter. And since Elon Musk took over, it seems the only changes he’s made have created a worse user experience.
It’s too early to say if Threads will replace Twitter (and anyone speaking in certainties is guessing). But here are three reasons why Threads is positioned to replace Twitter.
1. Early users are influencers: The problem with other Twitter challengers like Bluesky and Mastodon is that the early userbase is mostly random people (like me). Yet, by the time I downloaded Threads, nearly all the influencers I follow on Instagram were already there. And many were posting on other social media channels about Threads, to drive audiences to the app. This helped lead to the 10 million sign ups in the first seven hours that Mark Zuckerberg reported.
These aren’t folks who are going to post once and go to another app. They’re posting over and over again, creating content that is necessary to bring in and keep people engaged. Some of the biggest influencers, like Marques Brownlee, are even providing tips on how to improve the app. You can be sure Zuckerberg and his team are paying attention.
2. Blue checkmarks mean something: It’s been incredibly annoying scrolling through Twitter and seeing blue checkmarks. I keep having to remind myself that they’re meaningless. But that’s not the case on Threads, where it represents authenticity instead of a monthly payment. For new users coming to the platform, it’s easy to identify who people are and who you want to follow. And the ability to go through my Instagram list to build a quick network of real people I want to follow was an added bonus.
3. Zuckerberg vs. Musk: I’m not talking about the rumored cage match, but rather, who people trust less. Zuckerberg isn’t exactly loved. Most people don’t trust him with their data but provide it anyway because the services Meta provides are (mostly) good. But unlike Musk, he’s stable. Musk changes his mind like the wind. This creates uncertainty and results in changes people usually don’t like. When asked to choose between the two, Zuckerberg is the safer choice. This is especially true for brands and their advertising dollars, that are looking for stability.