Jake Gloudemans


July 6, 2023 12:38 PM

I think Threads is likely to succeed and ultimately poach a large portion of Twitter users. There are a few features it will need to add very quickly for this to happen, but I expect it will do so.

What Threads did right

In my view, it really comes down to one thing. They let everyone join at the same time. There was no waitlist, and they released iOS and Android apps at the same time.

Bluesky didn’t do this and I think that was a fatal mistake. Bluesky (and most/all the other new Twitter alts) launched before they could handle serious capacity, instead only letting in a bunch of high-profile people. Ordinary users who tried to sign up were stuck on a waitlist. I joined the waitlist over a month ago and am still waiting. The result was that the small batch of high-profile Bluesky users found it eerie and empty. If you’re a blogger/influencer, there’s no point in using a platform that has no audience, which is what Bluesky was and still is.

Threads waited until they had the capacity to scale to 10 million+ users, which they reached within 7 hours of launch. Because of this, anyone who switches over can quickly curate a feed that at least crudely approximates their Twitter feed. And ultimately, that’s what matters. People feel attached to the communities they’ve created on Twitter. If a new platform is billed as a Twitter replacement but you don’t feel like most your same people are on it, the safer bet is just to stay on Twitter.

What still needs to happen

People actually really like Twitter, as evidenced by the fact they keep using it and make their complaints about Twitter… on Twitter. What people don’t like is (a) Elon Musk, and (b) the fact the platform has become functionally worse (though it remains quite good) during his tenure - new features are not being added, while current features are being removed or paywalled.

To poach Twitter’s users, an alternative needs to replicate the core Twitter experience. This requires:

  1. Acquiring enough of Twitter’s users that the communities people have cultivated on Twitter feel present in the new space
  2. Having the core features / tools that people are used to using on Twitter, so they can transition seamlessly to the new platform

Threads has (at least moreso than anyone else) managed to accomplish (1). But it still needs to (quickly) replicate more of the Twitter experience in order for Twitter users to keep using it. Specifically, it needs:

  • A desktop / web version
  • Feed that only shows people you follow
  • Chronological feed

I’m bullish on Threads because all of these seem very easy to implement, if Threads decides it’s going to do them. I saw numerous posts requesting each of these features circulating on the current algorithmic feed already, and I suspect that at least the ‘only people I’m following’ feed will be added within a few days.


In the interest of figuring out how seriously you and I should regard my opinions on stuff like this going forward, I'll register a few predictions about the future of Threads:

  • Threads will add a feed showing only people you follow, by July 12 [70% Yes]
  • Threads will add a feed showing only people you follow, by the end of July [96% Yes]
  • Threads will add a desktop / web version by the end of July [77% Yes]
  • Threads will add a ‘chronological feed,’ by the end of July [65% Yes]
  • Threads will reach 25 million users by the end of July [93% Yes]
  • Threads will reach 50 million users by the end of July [57% Yes]
  • Threads will reach 100 million users by the end of this year [30% Yes]