Does 100 Million Downloads Equal Success? Twitter (I mean…X?) vs. Threads
Digital Communications

Does 100 Million Downloads Equal Success? Twitter (I mean…X?) vs. Threads

By Grace Hanlon

It’s been three weeks since Meta joined the likes of Bluesky and Mastodon and unveiled its “Twitter killer,” Threads.

Threads makes sense as Meta’s next big move in many ways. Meta’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has tried and failed to purchase Twitter, in hopes of absorbing Twitter’s reputation for being the internet town square.

The platform was of course eventually purchased by Twitter’s now CEO Elon Musk in October 2022, and since then it’s been anything but a smooth ride.

Swaths of #RIPTwitter, boycotts and hopeful competing sites have followed each of these roadblocks, such as outages, Blue Check withdraws and a total rebrand as of this week to “X.”

Meta has been working on developing a competitor for Musk’s prized possession since January, and the Fourth of July weekend provided the perfect opportunity for Meta to cash in on another one of Twitter’s fumbles.

In an effort to curb data scraping, Twitter announced limits to how many Tweets non-paying users can read in a day. With people unhappy with yet another shakeup to the app, Meta decided to launch Threads despite it being unfinished and lacking features such as hashtags and discover pages.

Only one week after its launch, Threads surpassed 100 million user sign-ups – no doubt in part due to how easy Meta made it to sign up for an account. Just four clicks and then you have an account, complete with followers that you can carry over from your Instagram account.

But is it really that easy to make the next internet town square by copy and pasting the formula for Twitter and then adding the vibe of Instagram?

Zuckerburg has said that he hopes Threads is a friendly place that focuses on kindness.

But does piquing enough curiosity for users to create accounts equate longevity and brand loyalty? Two days after Threads launched, its daily active users fell from 49 million to 23.6 million users.

I have done some exploring on Threads, and it really is just like Twitter with a few missing functions.

My main gripe with Meta’s Threads is that it is trying to combine Twitter’s atmosphere – one of live Tweeting, stream-of-consciousness ramblings, memes, real-time news and often anonymity – with the highly curated and edited Instagram that rewards aesthetics, perfection and clout.

In the world of “Instagram vs. Reality,” Instagram is considered fake and Twitter can be considered where you can find someone’s “real” thoughts and selves – albeit Twitter’s lack of regulation often spotlights some of the ugliest aspects of our reality.

To me, those two environments don’t match.

In pursuit of Meta’s desire to be the friendlier Twitter, you can see how connecting your Instagram profile and followers to your Town Square Persona may make you more cautious before you press post, instead of a goofy Twitter handle with a meme as a profile photo. It’s like PG-13 Twitter that your mom follows you on.

I’m interested to see if this ends up resonating with users, and if Threads’ upcoming features like hashtags and discover pages will bring with them some of Twitter’s organic expression, or will Threads’ posts all still feel like they’re a little stifled.

For the time being, I think the only “Twitter killer” out there is Musk himself.

Man driving in a car. subtitles say "gotta figure how to make money on this!"

Looking for some help threading the needle across all your social media platforms? We can help. Reach out to to see how the Devine + Partners team can support your social media needs.

Grace Hanlon

Grace Hanlon

As a Senior Account Executive and Digital News Producer, Grace combines traditional and digital public relations to support our clients. Grace specializes in media relations and strategic communications, while elevating your brands' digital presence through social media and video content creation.