Social Butterfly: As Threads unravels, has Elon found the X factor?

By August 9, 2023 No Comments
Social Butterfly August Header

Welcome to the August instalment of Social Butterfly – TCD’s state-of-social-media wrap with Digital Content Managers Tessa Charters and Jamie Hatch. 

The death of Twitter (literally, this time), Girl Dinner (IYKYK, but if you don’t, check it out) and the rise (and fall?) of Threads are all things we’ve been talking about this month. 

Never could we have imagined that so much could happen since our last wrap-up, but when Musk and Zuck are involved, anything is possible! So let’s delve into it…

Threads came, Threads saw, but did Threads conquer?

The last time you heard from us, Threads was the shiny new toy that everybody was talking about. Its quick rise to fame was no doubt incredibly impressive, but we were left asking – is it the real deal? Well, friends, it seems the jury is out on that one. 

With 44 million daily active users as of 7 July, just two days after its launch, vibes in the Meta office were sky-high and everything was looking peachy. It seemed like it was meant to be – but perhaps it wasn’t meant to last. Threads rounded out July with a much less impressive 8 million daily active users, down a discouraging 82 per cent from its peak. 

We definitely got caught up in the hype of it in the early days, but as it seems was the case for many users, we slowly forgot the app was even on our phones. 

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. With Twitter – sorry, X – continuing to dig itself into a hole and Meta adding more functionalities, we predict Threads will once again gain traction with a user base of ex-X users who will continue threading, quilting, sewing, stitching, or whatever else you want to call it. 

Face value

In better news for Meta, their old stalwart is still quietly achieving. According to Meta’s latest performance update, Facebook has hit a huge milestone, recording three billion monthly active users for the first time ever. 

Those of us who have practically made a full-time job of keeping up with the ever-changing – and poorly communicated – updates to Facebook Ads Manager will be pleasantly surprised Meta has blessed us with a new overview of the tool’s capabilities. 

While it doesn’t reveal anything overly exciting, it does provide basic tips on how to maximise the effectiveness of your Facebook ads, so we’ll take it. 

Meanwhile, Facebook continues to prioritise videos, with Meta announcing updates to the platform’s video features – including the ability for users to see and write comments on Instagram Reels that have been recommended on Facebook, without having to switch between apps.

Reel talk

There’s plenty going on in the world of Instagram. As always, Meta is playing catch-up with TikTok’s video features, but this time we’re pleased to see they’re finally enhancing the way we can edit Reels in the app. Fingers crossed this means we’re on the road to editing in-app without it crashing and costing us an hour of our life.

Instagram’s Reel editing tool is levelling up, with improved template options and new creative inspiration features. 

You can also expect to see multiple AI functions in your Instagram feed soon – visual editing tools, an AI chatbot and a message summary for your DMs are all in the works. There will also be a generative AI sticker tool that can be used for posts and Stories, enabling users to create custom graphics based on text prompts. 

But our favourite part is that Instagram will be labelling any visuals that are created with the AI tool, so if you are using AI, you won’t be fooling anybody. 

Instagram has also released a guide that details why businesses should be utilising their Instagram DMs. If responding to DMs isn’t your strong suit, we recommend you take a read of it here

And in a bid to update their in-app shopping experience, they’re also testing the ability to automatically add product tags in Stories.  

Tok of the pops

TikTok’s takeover of the music industry isn’t slowing down anytime soon. The platform has announced a partnership with Warner Music, meaning that TikTok will gain the licence to all of Warner’s music libraries for use on TikTok, TikTok Music, CapCut and in TikTok’s Commercial Music Library. 

The infotainment app has also added text-based posts. Considering the recent launch of Threads and the ongoing car crash that is Twitter – sorry, X – this timing seems too good to be coincidental.

TikTok is currently testing a new option that enables you to download posts without the pesky watermark. Why would TikTok do this? We’re going to assume they aren’t afraid for users to reuse their content elsewhere, because they’re confident users will find their way back to edit and share in the app. 

Bye bye, birdie

Elon Musk has been dropping hints about “X” for the last few months, and as you’ve surely seen by now, it’s finally here. So far it’s just Twitter with a new logo – check out this great reactive content from WWF about the change.  

Elon’s making moves to evolve the platform, though, with intentions to turn it into an “everything” app. According to longtime Musk watcher Ashlee Vance, Elon’s vision is for X to be used much like WeChat is in China, where it’s part of the fabric of day-to-day life – used not just to consume news, but to shop, pay rent, book appointments with your doctor and so on.

The X team are reportedly also working on the ability to hide the blue checkmark that people just paid for. Sure, why not?  

It’s worth noting that, despite reports of the platform’s death, Elon is claiming to have achieved a record high for monthly users – although the data to back this claim up is typically scant.

In other news…

We’re loving the momentum around the FIFA Women’s World Cup, with TikTok announcing a content partnership with FIFA and Snapchat announcing new activations for the games

The ‘Metaverse’ continues to be a swing and a miss, with Meta’s Reality Labs having lost $21 billion in roughly a year and a half. Ouch. 

LinkedIn is still quietly killing it, with record engagement reported once again in the latest performance update. The platform is also going wild with all things AI. Having already added AI assistants to write your profile, improve your job ads and create feed posts, it’s now testing an AI-powered ‘LinkedIn Coach’ to guide users’ app usage. 

That’s it from us – until next time, social butterflies…