from Siva Vaidhyanathan at The Guardian

The blandness of the Threads experience makes me yearn for the trolls of Twitter.

What if someone invented Instagram without the cute golden retriever photos, without any of the fun? What if someone invented Twitter without any of the serious and snarky back-and-forth about news, politics, ideas, or essential information about weather or pandemics.

Someone did. That someone is the one company that didn’t have to do much to continue to dominate the world of social media and online advertising: Meta. The largest and richest social media company in the world and one of the most powerful surveillance and propaganda forces in the world, has introduced something that almost looks and feels like Twitter and almost looks and feels like Instagram.

It’s called Threads, and it hit a record by gathering more than 100 million registrations in its first five days of existence. Of course, it did this by inviting its 1.8 billion Instagram users to use those credentials and import followers from Instagram to Threads. So it was easy. Easy ain’t always interesting, though. And there is hardly anything interesting about the technology or the content on Threads.

When I open up Threads all I see is a series of posts that read like fortune cookies. They are a series of positive affirmations. It’s lots of people offering therapeutic salves that purport to help everyone. One of the first Threats (the best thing I can think of to call a post on Threads) I read was: “Today’s Reminder: Don’t forget to take a deep breath.” A few scroll motions later I found: “Broken crayons still color.” The vapidity of the Threads experience makes me yearn for the trolls of Twitter.

One might assume that Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg wants to muscle in on the revenue Twitter makes – or, more accurately, made before Elon Musk put himself into massive debt to buy it [actually, Musk is the wealthiest person in the world, with an estimated net worth as of July 2023 of around US$240 billion — Eds].

But Twitter, even in its better days, never made money. It was a dumb business and it’s just getting dumber. Meta, with more than three billion users across four of the top-six social media platforms in the world, did not need this tiny sliver of attention and the revenue that might come from it. Twitter, after all, never cracked the top ten platforms in the world. It never had more than 250 million users. And it could never figure out how to sell advertisements well.

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