Text is hotter than ever. Threads, the “Instagram but with a tech focus” social media app built by Facebook, now has a feed dedicated to following…the people you follow. Meanwhile, TikTok, the Chinese social video app, has also followed Threads’ lead by adding its own text-only posts.
Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg publicly announced the change on Tuesday morning, publicly filling a hole in the application that people have complained about since the inception of Threads earlier in July. Threads still exists as a mobile app for Android and iOS, but Meta has yet to publish a version for the Web.
At this point, though, social media has become profoundly weird.
Just fifteen days after chief executive Linda Yaccarino proclaimed that there was only one Twitter, there is no Twitter at all: Musk renamed the company X.com over the weekend. Though the website reflects the name change, the mobile app still retains the Twitter logo. (Reports that X.com was referring to tweets as “xeets” appear to be false, according to Snopes). But Twitter X has also quietly proposed or actually moved more features under the paid umbrella of Twitter Blue such as limiting direct messages unless the user subscribes to the $8/mo service.
Threads, meanwhile, was once seen as the escape hatch for those who wanted to avoid having to scroll past Twitter Blue replies to any post. However, reports from Sensor Tower and other sources suggest that Threads daily users has fallen from 44 million to 13 million versus 200 million daily users.
Though there is now an official following tab at the top of the Threads feed, the app itself had apparently gently transitioned into the new layout. Though my personal feed did include some random accounts (sorry, Rep. Katie Porter), it was primarily accounts I followed—who were some of the most active on the platform, who would show up on my feed. Ironically, my Threads feed today lacks the “Following” feature, but is chock-full of random accounts.
Mark Hachman / IDG
Meanwhile, TikTok jumped on the text craze as well. “When you access the Camera page, you’ll be able to choose from three options: photo, video, and text,” the site said, announcing the new text-only posts. “By selecting text, you’ll be directed to the text creation page, where you can type out the content of your post.”
TikTok is also offering stickers, tags and hashtags, and background colors—much like Threads and Facebook.