How big a threat are threads to Twitter? read this report

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Twitter’s move to limit the number of tweets on July 1, 2023 is the latest in a series of decisions that have prompted millions of users to migrate to alternative microblogging platforms since Elon Musk acquired Twitter last year. In addition to growing numbers on Mastodon, the acquisition and subsequent changes have boosted smaller existing platforms like Hive Social and spawned new upstarts like Sputible and Spill. Recently BlueSky, the microblogging platform backed by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, saw a surge in sign-ups in the days following Twitter’s rate cap, and Meta launched its own microblogging platform, Threads, on July 5.

Threads claims 30 million users on the first day

Threads claimed three crore users on its first day. Even very different forms of social media like TikTok are benefiting from what many see as the imminent end of Twitter. As an information scientist who studies online communities, it seems like something I’ve seen before. Social media platforms are not forever. Depending on your age and online habits, there will probably be a platform that you have given up on, even if it still exists in one form or another. Think MySpace, LiveJournal, Google Plus and Vine.

What could be next for users who leave Twitter?

When social media platforms collapse, sometimes the online communities that made their home there perish, and sometimes they pack their bags and relocate to a new home. Due to the turmoil on Twitter, many users of the company are considering leaving this platform. Research on past social media platform exodus reveals what may lie ahead for users who leave Twitter.

you go first

Regardless of how many people eventually decide to leave Twitter, and even how many do so at roughly the same time, building a community on any other platform is an uphill battle. These displacements are largely driven by network effects, meaning that the value of a new platform depends on who else is there. In the critical early stages of migration, people have to coordinate with each other to encourage contributions to the new platform, which is really hard to do. No one wants to go to a new platform until their friends have left, and no one wants to leave before for fear of being alone in a new place. For this reason, the death of a platform – whether from controversy, dislike or competition – is a slow, gradual process. One participant described the decline of Usenet as watching a shopping mall slowly close down.

it’ll never be the same

The current pressure from certain corners to leave Twitter reminds me of Tumblr’s adult content ban in 2018, which in turn reminded me of LiveJournal’s policy change in 2007 and new ownership. People who left LiveJournal in favor of other platforms like Tumblr mentioned feeling unwanted there. And although Musk didn’t go into Twitter headquarters in late October and put the virtual content moderation lever to the “off” position, there was an increase in hate speech on the platform, as some users attempted to violate the platform’s content policies. Shown. Under the assumption that major policy changes are about to happen.

Many challenges may have to be faced

What makes Twitter Twitter isn’t the technology, it’s the particular configuration of the conversations that happen there, and there’s essentially zero chance that Twitter, as it exists now, can be reorganized on any other platform. Any migration can face many of the same challenges that previous platform migrations faced: content loss, fragmented communities, broken social networks, and shifted community norms. But, Twitter is not one community, it is a collection of many communities, each with their own criteria and motivations. Some communities may be able to migrate more successfully than others. So maybe K-pop Twitter can make the move to Tumblr. I’ve seen most of academic Twitter take a step towards Mastodon.

Other communities already exist on Discord and subreddits

Other communities may already exist on Discord servers and subreddits, and may reduce participation on Twitter because fewer people pay attention to it. But, as our study shows, migration always has a cost, and even for small communities, some people will get lost along the way. But, even if there is a cost to leave a platform, communities can be incredibly resilient. Like the LiveJournal users in our study who re-found each other on Tumblr, your fate is not tied to Twitter.

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