What Does Zuck’s New Social Media Site ‘Threads’


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Unless you’ve been a total and utter hermit (which, if you are, thanks for the read! for the past week, you will have inevitably heard of the feud between celeb tech entrepreneurs Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, as Musk’s Twitter faces the prospect of tanking after Zuckerberg’s newly launched media platform Threads.

Like Twitter, Threads is a platform designed to share text statuses and public forums or, as the title suggests, text threads. Due to the seamless process of being able to set up a Threads account by syncing your Instagram, the new platform gained thirty million users on its first day – making history as the fastest growing platform to exist. While Threads joins the big league among other popular social media apps, what does this new platform mean for the music industry? Is the amount of social media a blessing or a curse for curating audience involvement in the music scene?

How has Threads performed in its first week?

The cat is well and truly out of the bag – with a little help from Mark Zuckerberg’s ever-blossoming Meta empire containing the likes of Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram, it’s really no surprise that Threads has received the traffic that it has in the past week. The app hit a record 100 million users over the weekend, which continues to grow via the channel Threads has with Instagram as well as the ludicrous press surrounding.

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“That’s mostly organic demand and we haven’t even turned on many promotions yet,” claims Zuckerberg in a thread of his own. The general consensus within the first few days of the app seemed to be positive, as users cited the lack of bots, pushy marketing and hate speech (cough cough, Twitter) as a huge plus. Now that Threads has reached one week on the market and given people time to adjust, the reviews have been more mixed.

While the app itself may be a peaceful growing canvas, behind the scenes Threads is facing some backlash for its similarities to its rival the blue bird, with Twitter even going as far as threatening to sue the new platform over “intellectual property rights”. Whether this is simply a fast cash grab from Musk to ease the downfall of Twitter or a genuine plight regarding stolen trade secrets is up in the air at the moment.

Why are people against Threads?

While it seems most artists and their teams are saying “fuck it” and are downloading Threads to test the waters, others are less willing or have downright decided, with the guidance of their socials team, that they will not be pursuing the new platform.

“Excited to be a part of a dialogue based platform that might rescue the idea of the ‘public square’ but with (some sense) of morality,” Threaded NSW artist Jack River last week. River has always been active in sharing her voice in public debate, but with the history of artists going controversially ham on Twitter, could the same fate follow for Threads?

With Threads having an emerging theme of open debate, it is entirely possible that we could have PR companies and self-managed artists walking on – or mopping up – eggshells. An interview with a music PR manager for The Guardian revealed some insight into similar controversy over other platforms: “I think social media has to be looked at by artists in two different ways: first, as a way they can reach their fans directly, and second – just as important – as a means that a lot of the media use to write stories. Ultimately, if an artist still does have an outburst, no strategy can really be applied without their involvement.”

Singer-songwriter Adele famously used to drunk-tweet a lot back in the day, and it got to the point where her posts had to be approved by two people on her team before hitting the internet. A text-based platform such as Threads could see social and PR managers running around like headless chickens to keep from the swiftness of cancel-culture.

If managers aren’t already running around to keep their artists from controversy, they will be by the fact that Threads will be competing with a handful of other ever-popular social sites. The plethora of social media accounts that will be keeping an artist’s fans informed can be an added load for industry professionals behind the scenes, but most of all it will affect those up-and-coming bands who are self-managing their online media presence. Trying to make it in the industry is already challenging enough, but the time-cost of all the administration that needs to be done makes it even harder.

Since Threads is an untamed beast with no thread search and no ads, social strategies can only be based on two things – fans directly finding accounts via Instagram or specific search, OR the off chance that an artist’s threads get spat onto the Threads home page. While the platform is in its pilot model and updates can be expected soon, it’s best to see where the tide takes us.

Another update we hope to see in the future is a desktop or web client version of the app, as Threads is only phone-based at the moment. This can, however, be bypassed for desktop use if you run an Android Emulator.

Can Threads be a good thing for the music industry?

Since the beginning of entertainment’s time we’ve heard the expression, “There is no such thing as bad publicity,” and this can be repeated for new platform Threads. While the algorithm is still to be mastered and updates are still to be added, this is ultimately a platform for the people. It doesn’t hurt as well to use a platform backed by a billion dollar company and countless media traction.

Getting to be some of the first people to unwrap the shiny blank canvas of Threads is somewhat of an advantage, as it is a place that is absolutely booming. Users are taking the time to engage with content, and everyone wants a piece of the pie. New trends, concepts, and public figures can be created, with the idea of who will make the first Thread Influencer sweeping the plane of discussion.

Running under the multi-platform mogul Meta, it was an inevitable choice that Threads be paired with ActivityPub; a social networking protocol that allows users to share content from one platform to another, and allows users without an account to access this content. This is one of the factors that has led people to flock from Twitter to Threads, as Twitter recently updated its policy to ban individuals without a Twitter account to see content.

Like the Instagram-Threads link, this further weaves (or threads) Threads into the social world.Rather than starting a following from scratch, artists can actually create their Threads account through their Instagram account, where their fans can automatically follow them on Threads if they follow on Instagram. Not only can artists find new fans through Threads, but they can also passively gain following from Instagram – pretty crazy, right? Artists who have had the app since its launch have already gained ten, twenty, even one hundred thousand fans in the past week, without even trying.

There is also currently no “following only” option to scroll threads, meaning the Threads home page essentially works as an explore page. As soon as users open the app, they are greeted by threads from anyone and everyone. However, the more people you follow on threads, the more accurate the algorithm gets at discerning your taste in content, and the more likely you are to get suggested threads from relevant artists or creators on your home page. Some of these creators you may have never heard of before.

It doesn’t matter as to how much or what you choose to post on Threads, but more the opportunity to make connections. Threads puts the social in social media, where users can share opinions and find their tribe of like minded individuals. It’s a huge platform for one-on-one engagement, which music fans really value.

In this day and age, music celebrities are more personable and connected to their fanbases. We can know not just about an artist’s new releases and song meanings, but how they like to spend their free time, what meal reminds them of childhood, and what memes make them giggle. Fans like to know that their muse is more than a muse – but an actual person. A lot of Australian artists are already using the app to demonstrate their personableness, as seen through these personal favourite threads:

While social media does seem to be a necessary evil not only for the everyday person but also for social teams of artists and brands alike, the newfound capability to share to a digitised wider audience will always have its perks. It seems that ultimately the harnessing of Threads, the rival with Twitter, and the evolution of a new type of influencer remains pending. We’ll just have to see how it pans out.

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