Like tens of millions of others, I downloaded Threads onto my phone yesterday and signed up.
The thing that Twitter has been missing since it killed off its ecosystem over a decade ago is competition. And as we all know, lack of competition is a very bad thing. In governments and in products.
Competition keeps you honest. Competition makes you hustle. Competition forces you to innovate. Competition makes you better.
So I am thrilled to see some real competition emerge for Twitter.
I am also excited to see a scaled social media platform embrace an open protocol. In the case of Threads, that protocol is Activity Pub.
As far as I can tell, Threads does not yet support ActivityPub but has committed to doing so.
I have not enjoyed using any social media apps built on the ActivityPub protocol, most notably Mastodon, but I am not sure if that is the fault of the protocol or Mastodon’s implementation. Hopefully, we will see a better implementation with Threads.
But more importantly, protocols that are widely used bring lots of developers to them and those developers bring lots of different ideas and products.
So to me, Threads is about two really important things:
1/ Competition for Twitter. Long overdue and badly needed.
2/ The emergence of a widely supported social media protocol. Which should produce a vibrant and interoperable social media ecosystem.
I’ve got some questions in my mind about how all of this will work.
What will identity look like in this “vibrant and interoperable social media ecosystem?” It can’t be and hopefully won’t be my Instagram handle. Ideally, it would look something like ENS where each and every one of us will own and control our own identity/handle, like we can own and control a domain name.
Will there be one protocol for all of social media (short form text, long form text, audio, video, etc)? Will Instagram support ActivityPub too, for example?
What role will web3 play in all of this or will web3 social emerge on a different dimension entirely?
The ability to even ask those questions and ponder the answers is a gift to me and to the world. And so, therefore, is Threads.