By now you would have seen there’s a new social network in town. Threads is a Twitter alternative made by Meta1 and closely linked with Instagram. I signed up out of curiosity and almost immediately regretted it.
I quit Twitter over a year ago because I found the signal to noise ratio to be too weak. My feed was being flooded with irrelevant information instead of people I actually follow. In the year since, I have valued quiet and going slower instead.
Threads has launched with an algorithmic feed by default and I hate it. Each constant refresh brings tons of irrelevant information from people I’ve never heard off, all vying for your attention. It creates a feeling of overwhelm which I’m sure will be very profitable. Opening it was like turning on a firehose of nonsense. They have taken the worst parts of Twitter and copied them wholesale.
My main annoyance with an algorithmic feed is it defeats the point of social media. I want to see updates from the people I follow, not random stuff. Part of the reason I stayed on Twitter so long was the writing community, and I enjoyed seeing updates from people I followed through there.
My other annoyance is deeper. I think a algorithmic feed is more anxiety inducing, more frantic and less likely to bring you calm. The twitch and pull of a constantly refreshing stream of in information is overwhelming and always leads to a sense you are missing out on something. I found I’ve been a lot calmer by not exposing myself to random arguments constantly and not absorbing a thousand opinions at once.
At the moment it seems like there is no good alternative. I don’t want to shut myself off completely from the world. There are people I want to follow, events I’d like to know about. Threads just isn’t for me.2 I’ll stick with Instagram, because its a bit more low and chill. Other than that, I’ll continue to follow interesting people’s blog and newsletters by RSS.3 It’s a slower but more managable way of staying in touch.