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6 Reasons Threads Will Win (and the psychology behind why)

minute read

Unless you're living under a rock, you've heard that Meta just released its Twitter knock-off called Threads.

We're witnessing a fascinating marketing case study in real-time.

Here's why this time, we've finally found our Twitter killer.


Why Threads Will Succeed Where Others Have Failed

The big challenge with any new social media platform is getting a critical mass of users on board and habitually using the product.

Over the past decade, we've seen many apps try, and fail, to become a habit for a large enough user base.

Sometimes this feels like it's happening, but then a few months go by and the platform dies on its rear end (just ask Clubhouse or Be Real).

It can even be wildly popular and get shut down, like Vine, only to get replaced by a clone that takes over the world (TikTok).

The point is - it's hard out here for new social media platforms.

But it won't be for Threads.

Let me explain:

  • Threads doesn't have scalability issues like Bluesky because it doesn't have a funding issue.
  • Threads doesn't have a user problem because it has billions of IG and Facebook users already in its ecosystem. Even if they don't join right away, you have a database of billions to harass until they try it.
  • And Threads doesn't have a usability problem because it doesn't have any moral qualms about rolling out a product that's not that innovative. It doesn't have to compete on new, interesting features because it can directly take on Twitter with scale. 

And, unsurprisingly, there are some psychology and behavioral science reasons why Threads will become a massive player in the social media space.


6 Reasons Threads Will Win (and the psychology behind why)

 
1. The same, but different
We don't actually want radically new - we want the same thing but slightly tweaked. 
It's why when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone he didn't just unveil it and say, "ta da!" He first introduced it as an iPod + a mobile phone + an internet browser.

This is down to a principle called Familiarity Bias. It says when we're familiar with something we understand it, we like it, and it's easier to adopt. 

Threads isn't a radically new product - it's just Twitter with a new skin.
 
2. Meta is a known quantity
Some people will never join Threads because it's a Meta product - but realistically those folks are in the minority of potential users. 

But we know Meta. We know Zuckerberg. He's not out there tweeting crazy conspiracy theories and fringe beliefs.

We might not like or trust Meta or Zuck, but we can predict them.

They're boring, but in a good way.

Authority Bias will have some influence here - Facebook is the foundation of modern social media and we're more likely to take a chance on an experience created by an authority figure (this also worked in Jack Dorsey's favor with Bluesky and helped create early buzz about the app).

3. For Instagram users, it's incredibly easy to join
I signed up with my same Choice Hacking IG user name and within minutes had 500+ followers.

The whole process took less than 30 seconds and involved minimal thinking.

Threads, for IG users, has an onboarding experience built on cognitive ease and a lack of friction. And the easier it is to join, the more people will get started on Threads.

4. There's a quick dopamine hit from getting followers
The brilliant thing about connecting Instagram accounts directly to Threads is that you don't start with zero followers - if you have IG followers you will get some percentage of those folks finding you on Threads.

In my case, I have about 16.5k followers on IG and in the first few hours of being on Thread about 500 followed me.
 
That quick hit of dopamine is incredibly powerful. Users, especially those that have a large IG following, are incentivized to use Threads because they already have an in-built audience. 

5. Threads is easy to use (because we already know how to use it)
Like many people, I started looking for a Twitter alternative a while ago and Mastodon was the platform recommended by many folks.

But its user experience wasn't intuitive and frankly was a pain to use.

So like many others, when faced with a steep learning curve I didn't see the point and I bailed. Life's too short.

But Threads is just Twitter all over again (for now). You don't need to learn anything to get started if you already understand Twitter.

(The only question is, will tweeting be called Threading? Is a post called a Thread when it's just a single post? This small point confusion on the language might seem insignificant, but could work against Threads in the long-term.)

6. You'll hear about Threads and remember to revisit, creating a habit
One of the biggest reasons new products fail is people just FORGET to use them. They never become a habit.

But if the whole world is on a platform and it's driving news and headlines, then you remember it exists and pop back on.

We need triggers to use new products. And many digital products lack the powerful social and psychological triggers of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and Availability Bias (our brains favor recent information to drive decision-making).

This combination is potent, and Threads will have the benefit of lots of press coverage. At least for a little while.


The Bottom Line


While it might seem counterintuitive, an innovative alternative to Twitter isn't what will finally kill the bird app.

Instead, an easy-to-use and easy-to -join experience, combined with the social pressure to join and engage will make Threads a habit for billions of users. 

And once using Threads becomes a habit and the default microblogging destination, Twitter's unpredictable, bot-infested, threadboi-dominated, "free speech" goose will be well and truly cooked.

About the author

Jen Clinehens, MS/MBA

Hi 👋 I'm Jen Clinehens (MS, MBA) the founder and Managing Director of Choice Hacking.

I started Choice Hacking in 2021 to help marketers and entrepreneurs figure out what makes buyers tick, and elevate their work using behavioral science, marketing psychology, and AI.

If you want to learn more, check out links to my newsletter, podcast, YouTube channel and other free resources below 👇


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