A decade ago, Twitter rose to prominence by casting itself as a “global town square,” states The Washington Post, a space “where anyone could reach millions of people overnight. The platform was pivotal in facilitating large social movements, such as the Arab Spring protests in the Middle East and the Black Lives Matter protests over police violence. In a recent email to staff, Twitter’s new chief executive, Linda Yaccarino, repeated this characterization, calling the site “a global town square for communication.”
“But Twitter no longer serves this function. Thanks to a string of disastrous missteps over the past year by new owner Elon Musk — punctuated by the decision last week to cap the number of posts users can view — Twitter is hemorrhaging users and relevance. While Meta’s new Threads app is making an impressive debut, most social media experts say TikTok reigns as the new global town square and has held that role for quite a while.”
The WaPo post adds that “TikTok’s position as the internet’s new town square could face some competition from Threads, Meta’s latest app, which is essentially a Twitter clone. The app launched Wednesday evening, immediately attracting high-profile celebrities and content creators. Its sign-ups after less than 48 hours of existence totaled 70 million, making it the fastest-growing new site ever.
Some are not ready to make the switch from Twitter to Threads. “Engagement on Twitter has been lower,” said Tiffany Fong, a content creator who grew a large audience on Twitter by covering the FTX meltdown this year. “If I got more engagement on Threads, I’d switch over to Threads.”
Perhaps more ominous for Twitter is that about 38 percent of 200 digital marketing and communications professionals in the D.C. area surveyed believe Threads will be a Twitter killer and less than one-quarter are confident it will survive. Anthony Shop, Chairman of the National Digital Roundtable and Co-Founder of D.C.-based Social Driver, who moderated a briefing on Threads soon after its launch and provided Capitol Communicator with survey results, said, “With its immersive features, seamless integration across devices, and faster interface, Threads has the potential to upend social strategies and redefine digital engagement.”