A Closer Look at Instagram Threads' Upcoming Trending Topics Feature
"As social media continually evolves, Instagram Threads is taking a significant step in enhancing the user experience with its upcoming Trending Topics feature."
In the ever-changing social media landscape, Instagram Threads, operated by Meta, is gearing up to introduce a highly anticipated feature called Trends. This move aligns with the platform's efforts to compete more effectively with X (formerly Twitter).
Trending Topics on Threads: What We Know So Far
Recently, an update hinting at this upcoming feature was spotted in a screenshot posted inadvertently by a Threads employee. The screenshot revealed a numbered list of trending topics, each showing how many threads discussed it. This image was discovered by a Threads user named Willian Ma, who speculated that the post was initially intended for an internal feed utilized solely by Meta's employees.
Threads vs. X: The Battle of Trend Lists
While Threads is introducing a main Trends list, it seems that it will not be complemented by other trending lists categorized by topic, such as News, Sports, and Entertainment, or a personalized "For You" list like on X. Nevertheless, this addition signifies another stride towards making Threads a formidable competitor to X. Threads is capitalizing on the constant transformations on X, owned by Elon Musk, to attract users to their platform.
It's worth noting that Threads isn't the only platform attempting to challenge X. Other contenders include open-source Mastodon, the Jack Dorsey-backed app Bluesky, and startups like Pebble and Spill.
Threads' Journey: Successes, Challenges, and Future Directions
Threads had a remarkable start, reaching 100 million users faster than any other app since its launch on July 5. However, user engagement on the platform has seen a decline. In response, Threads has been swiftly introducing new features to enhance the app's functionality, including support for a chronological feed, a web app, easy profile switching, and a way to view liked posts. Importantly, it has also introduced search support, a critical feature for any social media platform.
However, adding a search feature alone won't turn Threads into an X rival. The combination of both search and trends helps make a platform the go-to network for breaking news and timely discussions – an area Threads has yet to master.
Threads has taken a cautious approach towards news and trends. It has blocked terms like "COVID" and "vaccination" from its search feature, aiming to create a more positive and friendly space for discussion. But striking the right balance is crucial, as trending news tends to generate strong reactions and opinions, which are vital in driving engagement on a social media platform.
It remains to be seen whether the addition of Trends will convince users to switch from X to Threads. So far, other highly anticipated features, including the much-in-demand launch of the web app, have yet to influence this dynamic significantly. As of August 2023, Threads has 135 million global monthly active users, a figure far short of X's 666 million.