Why the Early Success of Threads May Crash Into Reality

A large technology company with billions of users has launched a new social network. The company intends to leverage the popularity and scale of its existing products to make its new social platform a success. In doing so, it also plans to crush the apps of its major competitors.

If this sounds like Instagram’s new Threads app pushing rival Twitter out of the way, think again. In 2011, Google had just rolled out a social network called Google+.facebook killerGoogle pushed the new site in front of many users who relied on search and other products, growing Google+ to more than 90 million users in its first year.

But by 2018, Google+ was relegated to the ashes of history. Despite this huge audience for the internet search giant, the social network never took off as people kept flocking to Facebook and then Instagram and other social apps.

In the history of Silicon Valley, big tech companies often became even bigger tech companies by using their size as an embedded advantage. But as Google+ shows, size alone doesn’t guarantee victory in the fickle and trendy social media market.

This is the face of Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, which owns Instagram and Facebook, as he seeks to oust Twitter and make Threads the go-to app for real-time public conversation. It is an issue that is being addressed. If the history of technology is to be your guide, size and scale are a sure stepping stone, but ultimately there are limits.

What happens next is much more difficult. Zuckerberg needs people to be able to find friends and influencers on threads. This is an unexpected and sometimes bizarre way Twitter has managed to do it. He needs to make sure the thread isn’t filled with spam and scammers. He believes people should be patient with updates to the app, which is currently in development.

In other words, you want your users to find your threads compelling enough to keep them coming back.

“If you launch a gimmicky app or an app that doesn’t have enough functions yet, it may have the opposite effect, and many people may quit immediately,” he said, paying close attention to meta trends. Independent mobile analyst Eric Sufert said. app.

So far, Threads seems to have been an overnight success. Zuckerberg said 10 million people signed up for Threads within hours of the app’s launch last Wednesday. By Monday that number had surged to 100 million. According to analytics firm Similarweb, it was the first app to do so in that period, surpassing chatbot ChatGPT, which had 100 million users within two months of its release.

Mobile analyst Sufert called the numbers Threads racked up “objectively impressive and unprecedented.”

Twitter owner Elon Musk seems unnerved by Threads’ momentum. With 100 million users, Threads is rapidly surging towards Twitter’s final public user count. Twitter revealed it had 237.8 million daily users in July 2022, four months before Musk bought the company and took it private.

Mr. Musk has taken action. On the same day last week that Threads was officially announced, Twitter threatened to sue Meta over the new app. On Sunday, Mr. Musk called Mr. Zuckerberg “shit” on Twitter. Next, he challenged Zuckerberg to a contest to measure specific parts of his body and compare which was larger, along with a ruler emoji. Zuckerberg has not responded.

(Before the thread was published, Musk separately encouraged Zuckerberg to fight him in a “cage match.”)

What Musk lacks on Twitter, Zuckerberg has a huge audience on Meta. More than three billion users regularly visit Zuckerberg’s suite of apps, including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.

Zuckerberg has extensive experience persuading millions of people using those apps to use alternatives. in 2014For example, he removed Facebook’s private messaging service from within the social network’s apps and forced people to download another app called Messenger to continue using the service.

Threads is now closely tied to Instagram. Users must have an Instagram account to sign up. Users can import their entire follow list from Instagram into threads with one tap on her screen, saving them the hassle of looking for new people to follow on the service.

Zuckerberg suggested on Monday that there is still more that can be done to spur Threads’ growth. He wrote in a thread post that the app “hasn’t done much promotion yet.”

Some users are wondering why Threads debuted without some of the basic features used within Instagram, such as a search function that lets you browse trending hashtags.

Tech industry veteran and author Anil Dash said, “Threads has a lot of features that weren’t launched, probably by design to keep the brand safe,” to minimize controversy from the start. Stated. “How does that affect the long-term interest of the network?”

In a thread post on Monday, Instagram head Adam Mosseri said he had a to-do list of new features that people wanted to add to the new app. “They say, ‘Let it work, make it great, let it grow,'” he wrote, adding, “We are committed to making this great.”

But adding a new app to a company’s existing product can ultimately exhaust it.

After Google co-founder and then-CEO Larry Page cloned Facebook with Google+ in 2011, users quickly grew tired of the novelty of the new social network and stopped using it. Some people thought Google+ was forced on them when they were just trying to access Gmail.

A former Google employee described the product as follows:based on fearwas built solely in response to Facebook, without a clear vision of why people should use Facebook instead of competing networks. In a postmortem analysis of what went wrong, one former Googler said: I have written Google+ defined itself largely by what it wasn’t: Facebook.

Of course, Mr. Zuckerberg could also take out Bill Gates in a thread. Microsoft founder Gates built an empire on his Windows, the operating system that powered a generation of personal computers, and used its scale to successfully outmaneuver his competitors.

Back when Windows was dominating the PC, Gates famously bundled his software with other products for free. When he achieved this in 1995 by packaging his web browser Internet Explorer into his Windows, Internet Explorer quickly became the default browser for him on millions of computers, and in just four years it was the mainstream at the time. It overtook his Netscape, the most popular browser.

Still, Gates was ultimately stung by this tactic. In 1998, the Justice Department sued Microsoft for misappropriating Windows’ market power to crush competition. In 2000, a federal judge ruled against Gates’ company, accusing Microsoft of “tyranny of the scale of its competitive wealth.”

Microsoft has since settled with the government and agreed to make concessions.

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