I'd rather pay for Twitter Blue than sign up for Instagram's Threads
Meta's launching its long-rumored Twitter rival that could encourage people to switch sides
Twitter has had a tumultuous few weeks – or maybe months if you’re particularly unhappy with how the social media platform has evolved since Elon Musk took over. Unfortunately for the South African billionaire, things could get even worse now that Meta’s long-rumored Twitter rival, Threads, is set to launch on July 6 on iOS.
However, unlike the troves of people who claim they’re leaving Twitter for the umpteenth time and predictably never do, I won’t be signing up to Threads for several reasons. In fact, I’d rather subscribe to Twitter Blue, even though Threads is likely to be a hit.
We’ve seen countless attempts to lure people away from Twitter before with varying degrees of success. Mastodon and Hive were all the rage at one point, and the recent social media darling that people are swooning over is BlueSky, which is backed by Twitter co-founder, Jack Dorsey.
They all promise to best the bird app in several ways, whether it’s returning to a more classic format or decentralizing control. But none of them, at least for now, have taken off in any meaningful way. You’ll still find people who claimed they were jumping ship still tweeting every day – including Jack Dorsey – despite their many protestations about the state of Twitter.
Threads is Twitter’s biggest threat yet
Threads has potential, though. It already has an established foundation to build on due to being an extension of Instagram – which means it has millions of existing users to tap into and a large majority of your friends will probably be there by default. You also don’t need to go out of your way to sign up for another social media service and figure out how it works – it should feel instantly familiar, and that’s a huge boon for Threads.
Meta’s move to challenge Twitter isn’t exactly a surprise. We’ve seen the company try to steal a slice of another app’s success countless times before, and it has no qualms about shoehorning a similar feature into one of its existing platforms in an attempt to do so. Instagram Reels were created solely as a means to combat TikTok’s meteoric rise in popularity, for instance.
The perfect time to strike
What makes Threads even more likely to succeed, at least in the short term, is the timing couldn’t be better for the Mark Zuckerberg-owned company to swoop in. Twitter has never looked more vulnerable after Elon Musk recently implemented Twitter rate limits, much to the chagrin of every user. As of Sunday, July 2, 2023, verified Twitter Blue subscribers can view 10,000 tweets, unverified users can view 1,000 tweets, and new unverified users are limited to just 500 tweets, changing how people use the platform dramatically.
Musk made the change to stop AI services from harvesting Twitter’s public data and API for profit. ChatGPT, for example, has been accused of scraping Twitter to improve its ability to answer questions and refine its algorithm, much to the anger of Musk who wants to be paid for this transaction and precious data.
Whether you use Twitter for work or simply enjoy endlessly scrolling without any limitations, the new rate limit rules are off-putting, to say the least. Thankfully, the limit was expanded quickly after being incredibly restrictive, and there’s no guarantee this will be something that lasts forever. You’d like to assume the restriction will be lifted once the team at Twitter HQ finds a solution to stop data scraping on a mass scale.
The final straw
However, those excuses will likely fall on deaf ears. There’s no love lost between Elon Musk and the more liberal side of Twitter, which feels like he’s rapidly made the platform more toxic and prone to hate speech since his reign began. That’s not been my experience, honestly, and I actually appreciate some of the changes that have been made.
The exposé about how the platform censored information known as the ‘Twitter files’ was particularly eye-opening and concerning. I’ve never been a fan of cancel culture, and I especially don’t like it when a government dictates what I can and can’t see – something which Meta has shown it’s all too willing to do in the past.
And that’s one of my biggest problems with Threads. Regrettably, I already have a Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp account, but I rarely use the former two. One feels like a legacy app that I’ve only kept so I can stay in touch with distant relatives, and Instagram’s focus on beauty, narcissism, and FOMO (fear of missing out) has always felt extremely unhealthy to me. It was deemed the worst social media for mental health back in 2017.
Meta also has a history of misusing people’s data – something which was proven in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Unsurprisingly, you’ll be surrendering every facet of your information available to Mark Zuckerberg if you sign up to Threads, as shown by the App Store listing and highlighted by Twitter co-founder, Jack Dorsey.
I’d rather pay for Twitter Blue
Meta’s reputation isn’t exactly squeaky clean, then, but perhaps my reluctance to jump on another social media trend is also a sign of my age. I feel like I’m too invested in Twitter to leave now and have come to rely on the platform. I use it to search for news, make connections, and reach people who were previously unobtainable by other means.
I actually appreciate some of the new features Twitter has introduced, too, despite the fact they’re locked behind a paywall. The edit function is obviously a winner, and it would be nice to upload a video that isn’t compressed to within an inch of its life. I still haven’t been enticed enough to sign up just yet, though that could change in the future if more desirable functionality comes along. Keeping my old verified checkmark was never going to convince me to pay $8 a month.
However, perhaps the biggest reason why I’m likely to stay loyal to Twitter is that it’s still the best platform for sharing content. I’d rarely click off Facebook, Instagram, or even WhatsApp whenever a piece of content is shared, and that’s a huge factor for someone who uses Twitter to promote their work. Yes, Elon Musk’s petulant reaction to Substack launching its own Twitter-esque service called Notes wasn’t ideal (it’s annoying I can’t embed tweets anymore), but Twitter is still a great traffic driver. It remains to be seen if Threads can replicate this.
I’m sure Threads will have some aspects that will be more appealing than Musk’s platform – but for now, I won’t change my mind on Twitter, regardless of the facts that are set out before me. I’m dug in, and I’ll never change. Or maybe I’ll give Threads a go if Zuckerberg beats Musk in a fight…
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