Instagram Threads launched today. It’s a slicker and very nice text-based social platform. It’s basically what Twitter should have become.
I’ve used Twitter since it was TWTTR way back and had the original @sam handle in early 2006. I thought it was magical. And it was. So much of what we thought about making content on the web was changing and evolving.
Then Twitter really took off in 2006 with the tech crowd (as you can see here on this blog with all the posts tagged with “twitter”), and it was seriously magical. I remember staying in a Las Vegas hotel during a tech conference with the late great Wayne Porter when Twitter was still text-based, and him threatening to take my phone out into the desert and shoot it because it would not stop giving 40404 alerts (Twitter’s number) in early 2006.
Track was amazing. You could type “track mullins” into Twitter, and any mention of “mullins” (my hometown) would signal an alert. Amazing. I remember driving to the NASCAR race at Richmond in 2007 with my Blackberry and Twitter track set up… I had the best time.
2007 was a year of exploration. The world discovered Twitter along with social media. We elected a President in 2008 who broadcast his inauguration on social media in January 2009. It felt like we were living in the future. Twitter track, social media casts, Skype… it was all so amazing.
I made a video in early 2007 that I hastily uploaded to YouTube titled “How To Use Twitter,” which had over 2.5 million views and made me a good lump of change before I deleted it. It was the top-ranked video for Twitter at the time. Geez, I loved that platform.
Then… the 2010s happened. I won’t speak of those. But social media went in a different direction.
Now here we are with Threads by Instagram. It is clean and vibrant. It’s what Twitter could have been. But it feels empty and hollow in a way that Twitter never did. It will be a fantastic platform. Threads will completely trounce Twitter and make Elon Musk’s endeavor of purchasing and seemingly detaching Twitter from life support seem vainglorious.
But I will always hold out hope for the Bird. RIP, Twitter. You did well. You ushered in something so unique.
Now may we all return to our own blogs and our own places of content creation and learn the lessons we needed to learn about trusting in the altruism of large corporations when it comes to our human outputs (and why you shouldn’t).