On Threads, Meta Platforms’ Twitter copycat, users have been asking for weeks for a version that works on their computers. Soon, the company is expected to fulfil the wish.
In the mobile age, it’s not usually the desktop version of an app that makes or breaks its success. But Threads is focused on short text updates, which are sometimes easier to manage in a professional setting on a computer. Users with large followings and brands that buy advertising often keep the desktop version of X, formerly known as Twitter, open on their work computers during the day while they schedule posts, analyse performance and manage any money they’re spending on the platform. None of those features exist yet on Threads.
“We’re close on web,” Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram who is leading the Threads project, said last week. The company understands the app needs to be available on a desktop in order to build Threads into a weekday habit during work hours – especially after initial excitement with the app’s launch has faded – and claim users from X. The Wall Street Journal reported that the update could come as soon as this week.
It’s unclear what other functionality the Threads product update will include. The company declined to comment.
Threads is a bright spot for growth at Meta while other departments are getting slashed. Since its launch on 5 July with just a few dozen employees, the company has given the group headcount of more than 100. If the project can’t attract repeat users and paying advertisers, the tech giant runs the risk of criticism from investors and employees alike.
The tool racked up more than 100 million sign-ups within days of its launch earlier this month and could generate about US$8-billion in annual revenue over the next two years, according to Evercore ISI analysts. Since its peak, daily usage has declined more than 70%, according to Sensor Tower, a market research firm.
With the early buzz quieted, it’s still unclear where Threads will make its mark on internet culture. There is an opportunity to lure former Twitter users as the newly renamed platform undergoes vast changes under new owner Elon Musk’s leadership. But simply being an alternative to X won’t be enough to steal cultural relevance from its fast-growing rival, TikTok. It’ll depend on the pace of the app’s updates, and whether it can appeal to a new set of users who may have never been on Twitter. — Alex Barinka, (c) 2023 Bloomberg LP