social media | Jul 7, 2023 |
Why the design industry is embracing Threads

The number of social media platforms you have to keep up with just got a little bit longer. On Wednesday, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, debuted Threads, a new app meant to compete with Twitter. Since its launch, Threads has already amassed more than 72 million users, with many interior designers and trade brands among them.

Since Elon Musk took over Twitter this past October, there’s been growing discontent among its user base, with a reported 7.3 percent drop in traffic year over year. Musk’s frequent changes to the app, including news this week that he was limiting the number of tweets users were allowed to see, haven’t helped matters. Several rival apps have cropped up over the past year, but so far, nothing has seen the rapid, widespread adoption of Threads. Because it’s owned by Meta, Threads was able to make the setup process virtually seamless (pardon the pun) for existing Instagram users. New Threads users have the option to import their bio and profile photos as well as all their followed accounts from Instagram with just a few taps.

In its first days, Threads harkens back to a simpler time on social media. “As someone who misses the early days of Facebook—before it was monetized and you could just share a quick idea; and Instagram, before the algorithm took over and started trying to be TikTok—I’m hoping that Threads can just be place to share a thought without committing to a photo,” says Beth Diana Smith, a designer out of Kearny, New Jersey. “I’m hoping it’s more about organic chatting with some humor and knowledge woven in.”

Instagram has long been designers’ social media platform of choice to let stunning portfolio images speak largely for themselves. But the frequent changes in the app’s algorithm and its recent pivot to prioritizing Reels has left a lot of designers wishing for an alternative way to express themselves online. “My Instagram metrics have been a disaster over the last year, and no one even looks at my images anymore—they used to frequently rack up 10,000 views, and now they are down to about 300 views,” says Atlanta designer and HGTV star Brian Patrick Flynn. “I decided to just jump on board the Threads thing, and here I am 16 hours later and my following is already about to bust through the 10,000 mark. And if people want to see my design work, those six or seven people can go old school and pop over to my Instagram.”

New York designer and Netflix personality Mikel Welch feels similarly, adding that the pressure to curate a beautiful Instagram feed can take a toll. “Sometimes I can spend hours trying to curate the perfect arrangement of photos and captions for the week,” he says. “Threads is like the messy little sister that doesn’t quite keep her side of the room clean. I like that things are off the cuff and of-the-moment.”

The lack of polish on Threads is also appealing to Atlanta designer and influencer Amber Guyton of Blessed Little Bungalow. Guyton says that despite her initial reaction, which she says was a “deep sigh” that there was yet another social media presence to maintain, she’s hopeful that the simplicity of the app can offer an opportunity to build community in a way that Instagram does not. “There’s a focus on conversation,” says Guyton, though she’s remaining cautious in her optimism. “I just hope the algorithm and ads don’t run creators away as they have done on other platforms.”

Similarly skeptical is San Francisco–based Noz Nozawa, who says that, while Threads currently seems charmingly authentic, she won’t be surprised if it morphs into something closer to its inspiration source. “I’m kind of a cynic—I predict that as user adoption increases, the same trappings of opinion echo chambers, toxic trolls and content-for-max-engagement will dominate this platform,” says Nozawa. “But, all that said, a part of me longs for a place on the internet where I can just share thoughts or funny stories that stick around past 24 hours without the pressure to attach a portfolio photo.”

Business of Home is on Threads, too, starting industry conversations about the design world. You can find us on the platform here.

Homepage image: ©Diego/Adobe Stock

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