As Meta looks to rapidly evolve its Twitter-like Threads app, in order to scoop up as many cast-offs from X as possible, it’s seemingly close to adding a range of much-requested features that could help to bring it into parity with the Elon Musk owned app, or even better it in some instances.
First off, Threads will soon add a new “Trending Topics” element, which will make it easier for users to stay up with the latest discussions in the app.
As you can see in this example, posted by app developer Willian Max (who was able to grab a screenshot via a Meta developer’s account), the new trending list would display all of the top conversations happening in Threads at any given time. Users would then be able to tap through on any topic to see what people are saying, as they can on X.
That could be a big step in bringing Threads closer to the X experience, because right now, X remains the best place to be for real-time news discussion. But maybe, by bringing more focus to the key topics of the moment, Threads could become a bigger source of the same, even if Threads doesn’t really want to lean into news and politics, as such.
Though IG chief Adam Mosseri also recently clarified his stance on this:
Which is true, Meta has repeatedly added incentives for news publishers, only to rescind them a year or so later, leaving newsrooms in the lurch. With Threads, Mosseri says that they’re trying to be more deliberate about such, rather than re-directing newsrooms to focus on, say, video, only to change it up again in future.
Threads is also looking to add more post creation elements, including voice posts, GIFs, and polls in-stream.
As you can see in this screenshot, shared by Chris Messina, Threads users will soon have more options built into the Thread composer, providing additional ways to engage and interact.
Threads is also testing editing, potentially within a time limit after posting, while it’s also working on new ways to promote a users’ Threads activity, both on their Instagram profile and in the app.
It’s still too early to say whether Threads will stick, and become a more significant player in the social media space. But recent changes at X, including its revamp of link previews, have certainly prompted more people to look Threads’ way, with journalists and media organizations, in particular, now considering their options, based on the potential for promotion of their content.
Which is a point of vulnerability for X.
As has been confirmed by X staff, 80% of X users never post, they just read updates in the app, which means that of X’s 253 million daily active users, only 50 million of them ever post anything at all, a comparatively small fraction of the platform’s userbase.
In itself, that’s probably not unusual, with most apps being reliant on a small group of highly active users to drive their activity levels. But X also recently confirmed that of the 500 million posts that it sees every day, just 100 million are original updates, with the rest being either replies to those updates or re-posts and quotes. Which means that X’s active, posting users are only sharing, on average, two original updates per day.
Some people, of course, post way more than that, which means a heck of a lot of those 50 million posters are only posting a single update, if that, every 24 hours.
And I would hazard a guess that a significant amount of this activity actually comes from media organizations, journalists, and publishers, who share links to their latest posts, which then sparks further discussion within the app.
If these media folk, most of whom are none too pleased with X’s link preview update, were to stop posting to X, and shift their focus to other apps instead, that would be a major blow for the app.
At the same time, Elon continues to attack the “mainstream” media almost daily in the app, accusing journalists and publications of lying, misleading, acting on behalf of the government, and worse.
If there was anything that could push more activity away from X, this is likely it, with Elon potentially underrating the significance of major publications to his platform, and the value they bring to the X ecosystem.
The media is still intertwined with X, but you can see it unraveling, and as Elon actively tries to push many publications away, it does seem like this is keeping the door ajar for Threads.
Now the Threads team just needs to get up to speed with its feature set, in order to pull it wide open, and welcome in more discussion.