Hello. I hope you had a great Fourth of July. I went into the week thinking I might have to subject you to my thoughts on the recently concluded Supreme Court term, but fortunately other events conspired to give me a topic to write about on which I’m not entirely out of my depth.
I was doing one last scroll through Twitter before closing the laptop on Wednesday night when I saw a tweet from our former colleague David French inviting folks to follow him on Threads. Threads is the latest in a long line of Twitter competitors. We’ve seen conservatives try to start social media platforms that wouldn’t “censor” them: Parler, Gettr, and of course Truth Social, founded by Donald Trump himself. There are other sites like Bluesky (started by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey) and Mastodon. None have really caught on. But Threads has an advantage the other upstarts didn’t: It’s a Meta product, tied in with Instagram.
It appears to be an overnight sensation. Mark Zuckerberg posted (threaded?) that the site got 5 million signups in the first four hours after launch. It’s now surpassed 80 million users. (By comparison, Twitter has 450 million, but it’s been around since 2006.) I’m on Threads, and I like what I’ve seen so far.
Saturday Night Live used to have a recurring bit on its Weekend Update segment in which a character named Stefon, played by Bill Hader, came on to talk about “New York’s hottest club.” Said club always had “everything” and everything it had was ridiculous. “This place has everything,” he once intoned. “Ice sculptures, winos, Germfs—German smurfs—a Teddy Ruxpin wearing mascara, an old lady wearing Kid ‘N Play hair, and none other than DJ Baby Bok Choy.” Honestly, that’s a pretty good description of Twitter on an average day.