Opinion | Is Threads the Good Place?

Once upon a time on social media, the best app of them all, Instagram, home of animal bloopers and filtered selfies, founded a land called Threads, a hospitable alternative to the damned X, formerly known as Twitter. used to go. X was taken over by the Dark Lord Musk, who reopened the entrance to X to his exiled demons Donald Trump, Kanye West, and Andrew Tate.

The good people of X tried to escape, scattering into the hinterlands of Mastodon and Bluesky, whose remoteness they complained to X about.

But Threads will provide a new haven. This will happen twitter but okA good place where x is liberal exile Gathering for a free exchange of ideas and maybe even a little bit of 2012 Twitter magic – goofy memes, infighting, meeting new online friends. A place where learning and interaction was almost better than IRL interaction. With several major features still in development, Threads also had a pleasant lo-fi atmosphere.

I joined the threads soon after 5th July debut As an observer (had already fled Twitter before the ex-ed). In the beginning, early adopters waited on the sidelines, attending but not posting, like seventh-graders gathered near the door at a middle school dance. Every now and then someone would call out, “Is anyone here?” “Should I be here?” and “Is everyone else at another party?”

Meanwhile, in what Threadsters calls the Other Place, people who had spent years building squadrons of loyal followers saw their blue checks taken away, their diatribes given fewer likes, their feeds infiltrated by bots. It seems that anyone on the MAGA left had fled. They too will have to leave and start from scratch.

As more participants joined the threads, a palpable excitement, even joy, erupted; It was like watching a schoolyard of children being freed from detention. We are going to build the best treehouse ever!

“Okay, let's get this working,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez posted. “Let there be good feelings, strong community, great humor, and less harassment on this platform.”

And now, after only 10 months, we can see exactly what we created: a full-on weird-world “. If progressives and liberals were emboldened by the likes of Trumpers and Breitbart on Twitter, on Threads they have the opportunity to be emboldened by people of their own kind.

The algorithm of threads seems precisely modified to confront the user with posts dedicated to any progressive situation. It knows, for example, exactly where – on the left, bien sir – you stand in relation to the Middle East, gender ideology, DEI, body positivity, neurodivergence, Covid and the creative industries and whatever position you take there. Shows posts shouting from. Far enough away from myself to get you out of my mind.

In this microverse, arguments you probably don't know about (every time I see a white person in a kaffiyeh, I wonder: How much have you studied this issue?) are about symbolism, solidarity, and identity. All around turn into accusations. Anyone who wants to be offended is somewhat guaranteed to be offended – or your money back. Acknowledgments of emotional turmoil and mental health crises act like a kind of currency, a sure way to earn credibility.

Another user said, “Threads are a great example of how the leftists vilify everything and anything said or written by anyone that is even slightly positive or not negative enough or blah blah blah. Parses it and works its way.”

My phone's Face ID still regularly fails to recognize my face, but within a few days Threads managed to gain access to the deep layers of my amygdala. I wasn't even threading, but it was immediately apparent that the thread had somehow gotten inside. Instead of displaying the cat content I searched for, its landing page defaulted to an algorithmic “for you” and a tailor-made stream of trigger bait for what it thought was “for me.” I'll log on and confront the ridiculous Princess Catherine truism that employs painstaking purity tests to weed out only the progressives from the staunchest anti-capitalists and rightfully have a furious debate over who is the most anti-Semitic. .

But it wasn't just me. One user wrote, “It seems like Threads is intentionally pushing content that opposes your personal beliefs and values ​​- thus triggering everyone.” Another complained, “They deliberately show you things you don't like.” “The more you try to block out certain types of sounds, the more they show it to you.”

This month, novelist Daniel Torday posted, “This place has become almost as useless as Twitter. I'm out.”

Torday explained over the phone a few weeks later, “I posted something that was read in bad faith by a person I respect.” He removed the objectionable post but is still worried. “I don't know whether this type of social media is worth using or not. This may not be possible.” Threads felt to them the same way Twitter had two years ago.

“There's some kind of algorithm that's weeding out outrage, just like Twitter,” he said. “The threads feel like it's falling apart on the left side.”

But where else to go? You can go back to another location. You can take the red-pill on Truth Social, where reposts use the term “retruths” in a universe devoid of people interested in fact-based reality. You can cover your bases by cross-posting on Bluesky and Mastodon, Reddit, and threads. According to social media analystThe types of debates that used to be lively on Facebook and Twitter are coming back to private group chats.

The fragmentation of social media may be as inevitable as the fragmentation of broadcast media. Perhaps even inevitable, any social media app aiming to be financially successful will have to exploit the worst aspects of social behavior. And it may be that Hobbes, history's happy optimist, was right: “The condition of man is a condition of war of all against all.” Threads, it turns out, are just another battlefield.

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