Wednesday, October 4, 2023

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Meta Is Working On A ‘Sanely Run’ Twitter Clone

We’re living in an age when making a personal diss against someone, whether it’s in person or online, is perfectly acceptable.

You might even say it’s encouraged, judging from the recent social media comments people are making about Mike Pence running for president.

It’s not even out of the realm of possibility for someone at a large company like Meta to diss a certain mega-billionaire named Elon Musk, even if it was not a direct jab.

In case you haven’t heard the news, Meta is preparing a Twitter clone to launch soon, possibly called Threads. The chief product officer at Meta, Chris Cox, gave a company presentation recently and dropped a zinger that was obviously meant for Musk: “We’ve been hearing from creators and public figures who are interested in having a platform that is sanely run, that they believe that they can trust and rely upon for distribution,” he said.

First off, that’s quite a bold statement from someone connected to Facebook and Instagram, even if he likely didn’t intend for anyone outside of that meeting to hear it. Sanity, trust and reliability are not always the words we associate with any social media endeavor. Usually we hear words like trolls and misinformation.

Second, I’m shocked anyone would be talking about a Twitter clone. I’ve mentioned this many times, but I do prefer the micro-messaging features of Twitter because they match my tastes. I like making quick, punchy posts and I have yet to gravitate fully (from a personal standpoint) to apps like TikTok and Instagram that focus more on videos and photos.

To me, making a Twitter clone that focuses more on text and links is similar to coming up with a brand new gasoline engine — at a time when the entire auto industry is pushing electric cars. I have a lot of questions about why the company behind Instagram would bother with a Twitter clone. One possible reason, other than wanting to run a “sane” platform, is that there are more holdouts like me who prefer a text-based social media service.

We’re here, and we’re waiting. I like Instagram as much as anyone else, but my problem is simple: I don’t always have a creative image or graphic to share. Usually, what I want to share is a link to an article, and I prefer text exchanges with other users — when they are civil. I have learned a ton on Twitter from other users and in comment sections. I like how easy it is to scan through the comments on an Elon Musk post — it’s quite a goldmine of insight (at times).

Another pressing question is how Threads (if that’s what Meta calls it) will differentiate itself. I do like how the app will apparently connect directly into your current Instagram account and allow you to port your followers over. (By the way, Instagram released a direct messaging app called Threads back in 2019; it was discontinued in 2021.)

Somewhere along the line, I feel like Meta didn’t quite get the memo that Twitter has fallen out of favor and that text-based micro-blogging is probably going to go belly-up sometime soon. It’s very difficult to monetize platforms like this, as Elon Musk learned the hard way. It’s also hard to keep users connected to something that is purely meant as a text-based platform.

That said, I hope Meta figures it out, Threads rocks our world and that we have yet another way to connect and share insights. I might be the first user to sign up.

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