By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Threads hits a speed bump

Mark Zuckerberg may soon have reason to regret pushing Threads out the door before it was ready. Lindsey Choo reports for The Wall Street Journal (free link, I think; apologies if it doesn’t work) that user engagement has fallen by 70% since its July 7 peak.

No doubt Zuckerberg wanted to take advantage of Elon Musk’s Fourth of July weekend freakout, when he limited the number of posts you could read on Twitter (especially if you weren’t a paid subscriber), cut off access to individual tweets for non-members (thus blowing up our news feed at What Works), and killed off classic TweetDeck in favor of a new, lesser update.

But Threads is frustrating to use. The biggest problem is that you can only access it on a mobile device. Also missing: a reverse-chrono tab of accounts you follow, thus clogging up your feed with brands and celebrities you don’t care about, as well as no lists and no hashtags.

Mastodon has been my first stop since Musk took over Twitter last fall, but its decentralized nature presents problems of its own. It’s difficult to find what you’re looking for, there are parts of the unfortunately named Fediverse that are invisible to you, and most of the people and accounts I need to follow just aren’t there. Bluesky is still invitation-only and has had problems of its own.

I realize this is of little interest to most people, but for those of us whose work depends on social media to some degree, it’s been an interesting — and frustrating — nine months.

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Hitting pause


  1. Batchman

    The free link isn’t free, at least for me: it requires a WSJ subscription.

    • Dan Kennedy

      I’ve tried to fix it, so please try again. Not sure why it didn’t work for you.

      • Batchman

        Yes, the link works for me now. Thanks.

  2. Candy Thomson

    I’m a retired/recovering journalist who still occasionally writes and definitely follows the news.
    Threads is incredibly frustrating for the reasons you state. Bluesky isn’t cutting it and Mastodon is too narrowly focused.
    I just want Twitter Classic, with or without an edit button.
    I’m afraid we’re going to miss important election news because everything is broken, lame or corrupt.

  3. Thank you again for detailing all of this.
    I used the Bird to share content of the art education websites I run..
    I curated journalists (like you) and writers and thinkers and now and then even connected with them.
    I followed the weather and associated topics especially in blizzards etc.
    None of the myriad new sites can do all that for me. I too am beginning to step away from threads which are more and more tangled up.

  4. Todd Wallack

    Hoping Threads adds more feature, including:
    *ability to search posts
    * DMs (for people who allow them)
    * chronological feed
    * ability to use lists
    * ability to just see posts and reposts from people you are following

    At the moment, it is hard for me to use as a reporter trying to find specific posts (say video or reports of the latest MBTA crash) or contact people for potential interviews.

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