In just one week, about 100 million people downloaded the app Threads, Meta’s and Mark Zuckerberg’s attempt to capitalize on Twitter’s large-scale setbacks under the leadership of Elon Musk. I was one of the 30 million or so who eagerly signed in on the first day and was happily surprised by the overall good vibes and clean user interface found within.
Ian Bogost and Charlie Warzel, two of my favorite writers in the tech space, are a bit more pessimistic. But rather than solely picking apart Threads—though they admittedly do a bit of that—they train their view on the entire landscape of social media. When the billionaire boys’ club continues to bicker online and direct our digital attention at their whims, do any of us really win?
With a few threads posted, and the most eager followees following or followed, the dopamine high cleared, revealing reality: The age of social media is over, and it cannot be recovered. Zuckerberg has merely copied and pasted a social network, and we are back where we started, only with all the baggage and psychological scarring of previous connectivity experiences. Big tech companies now dictate where attention, and therefore money, power, and influence, reside. You don’t have to like that fact to admit that it’s the case: Is Threads a thing? Should we be on it?