Meta's Threads: Challenging Twitter's Dominance in Social Networking
Decoding the Forest's Whisper: The Fascinating World of Tree Communication
Good Morning! ☀️,
Welcome to the sixth edition of our newsletter. In this issue, we explore the emergence of a new player on the scene, Threads, a platform developed by Meta. We'll take you through the journey of Threads, from its rapid growth to its unique features, and even the controversies it has stirred. We'll also examine the competitive landscape, including the ongoing rivalry between Meta and Twitter. So, buckle up as we navigate the twists and turns of this exciting new chapter in social media.
Before we dive into the intricacies of Threads, let's start with our
What continent covers four hemispheres?
You'll find the answer at the end. But no peeking!
The Hidden Language of Trees: The Fascinating World of Forest Communication
In the heart of the forest, a silent conversation is taking place. Trees, often perceived as solitary beings, are in fact part of a complex network of communication and mutual support. This hidden language of trees has been a subject of fascination for scientists and nature enthusiasts alike. But how do trees communicate, and why is this communication so important?
Trees communicate through a network of fungal threads known as mycorrhizal networks, often referred to as the "Wood Wide Web." These networks connect the roots of different trees, allowing them to exchange nutrients and information. Through these networks, trees can warn each other of threats, share resources, and even nurture their offspring.
One of the pioneers in the study of tree communication is ecologist Suzanne Simard. Her research has shown that trees, particularly those in old-growth forests, are connected in complex networks of mutual support. For instance, she found that large "mother trees" can identify and send nutrients to their saplings through the mycorrhizal network.
Tree communication plays a crucial role in the health and resilience of forests. By sharing resources and information, trees can better withstand threats like disease, drought, and insect infestation. This communication also fosters biodiversity, as different species of trees and plants can coexist and thrive through mutual support.
The study of tree communication has profound implications for how we understand and manage forests. It suggests that forests are not just collections of individual trees, but interconnected communities that depend on cooperation and mutual support.
For a deeper dive into the hidden language of trees, check out this TED Talk by Suzanne Simard. In her talk, Simard shares her groundbreaking research into tree communication and its implications for our understanding of nature.
The hidden language of trees, with its intricate networks and silent conversations, is a testament to the complexity and interconnectedness of life on Earth. It's a reminder that even in the quiet of the forest, a vibrant conversation is taking place, one that holds the secrets to the resilience and diversity of our planet's ecosystems.
Meta's Threads: The New Player in Social Media
Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, has recently unveiled an application known as Threads. This platform, crafted by the Instagram team, is Meta's app envisioned to be compatible with an open social networking protocol. It's a dedicated space for real-time updates and public discourse, with a vision to become a key player in the future of open, interoperable social networks.
Threads has experienced rapid growth since its launch, hitting the 1 million user mark at an impressive pace. This achievement is particularly noteworthy when compared to the growth rates of other social media platforms. For instance, it took Facebook about 10 months to reach 1 million users, while Instagram achieved the same milestone in just two and a half months. The speed at which Threads has attracted users underscores its potential to become a major player in the social media landscape.
However, it's important to note that this growth is largely due to its direct connection with Instagram. The ease of the sign-up process, which allows Instagram users to effortlessly transition to Threads, has significantly contributed to its swift user acquisition. Without Instagram's established user base, Threads' growth might not have been as remarkable.
A Deep Dive into Threads' Key Features
Threads is a microblogging platform that stands out for its focus on text-based communication. It allows users to post updates of up to 500 characters, a feature that encourages concise and thoughtful sharing. But the sharing doesn't stop at text; users can also include links, photos, and videos in their posts. The videos can be up to 5 minutes long, providing ample time for users to share engaging content.
The user experience on Threads is designed to be seamless and intuitive. Users can log in using their existing Instagram accounts, making the transition to Threads smooth and effortless. Once logged in, users will find their Instagram username and verification status carried over to Threads. They also have the option to customize their profile specifically for Threads, allowing for a unique identity within the app.
Accessibility and User Control: A Priority
Threads is designed to be accessible to all users. The app incorporates core accessibility functions found on Instagram, such as image descriptions generated by artificial intelligence and support for screen readers and image descriptions generated by artificial intelligence and screen reader support. This ensures that Threads is inclusive and usable for people with varying abilities.
User control is another key aspect of Threads. Users can control who can mention them or reply to them within Threads, providing a level of control that enhances the user experience. Similar to Instagram, individuals can include hidden words on the app to weed out replies in their threads. This feature promotes positive and respectful discussions.
Safety Measures and Community Guidelines
The app enforces Instagram's Community Guidelines on content and interactions, ensuring that the platform remains a safe space for all users. By tapping the three-dot menu, users have the option to unfollow, restrict, block, or report a profile on Threads. Notably, the restrict feature goes beyond muting by offering enhanced control. When someone comments on your Instagram posts, their comment appears to them but remains hidden from others unless you approve of it. Similarly, direct messages from restricted accounts are directed to the requests folder, ensuring a more personalized and controlled communication experience. Additionally, any profiles blocked on Instagram will automatically be blocked on Threads, further reinforcing the app's commitment to user security.
Towards an Interconnected Social Networking Future
Threads is not just about the present; it's about the future of social networking. Meta intends to ensure Threads is compatible with ActivityPub, the open social networking protocol established by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). This enhancement would enable Threads to interact with other applications that also support the ActivityPub protocol, such as WordPress and Mastodon. This means that users using compatible apps will be able to follow and engage with people on Threads without having a Threads account, and vice versa. This interoperability is a significant step towards fostering a more interconnected and diverse landscape for online social networking.
The Impact of Zuckerberg's Tweet
Zuckerberg's tweet, his first in over a decade, was a strategic move that drew significant attention to the launch of Threads. The playful jab at Elon Musk, owner of Twitter, was a clear indication of the competition between the two platforms. The use of a popular meme, the Spider-Man pointing meme, added a layer of humor and relatability, making the tweet more likely to be shared and discussed, which it did.
This event underscores the competitive nature of the social media industry and the lengths companies will go to promote their products. It also demonstrates the power of social media as a marketing tool, with a single tweet generating significant buzz.
However, this move could also be seen as a double-edged sword. While it succeeded in drawing attention to Threads, it also highlighted the platform's similarities to Twitter, potentially reinforcing perceptions of Threads as a "Twitter clone." Furthermore, by engaging in a public rivalry with Musk, Zuckerberg risks alienating users who are fans of Musk and Twitter.
The Shortcomings of Threads
Despite its promising start, Threads has several missing features that could hinder its growth and user satisfaction. The most noticeable absence is direct messaging (DMs). Private messaging is a distinguishing feature found in most prominent social media networks, such as Twitter, Instagram (owned by Meta), and Facebook. However, Threads initially debuted without direct messaging capabilities, which can create challenges for journalists who frequently receive messages from potential sources, as well as for brands that utilize social media messaging for customer service purposes.
As of right now, the Threads feed pulls in posts from all users, not just the ones you follow. Locating content shared by the users or brands you follow can be challenging, and currently, there is no option to modify the way the feed loads. Content is apparently algorithmically ranked and served up to users no matter what time it’s posted. In response to this, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram threaded:
Threads also lack the ability to include hashtags in posts. Hashtags are a core feature of Twitter and have made it easy for users to discover posts under a certain topic, as well as surface trending content in one place. Similarly, Threads lacks the capability for users to search for specific text or phrases.
Another notable distinction is that Threads does not offer a desktop website, limiting access to the service solely through iOS or Android apps. This could be a significant drawback for users who prefer to use social media on their desktops.
An additional significant shortcoming is the inability to edit posts once they've been published. This lack of an edit feature is a common complaint among Twitter users, and Threads has followed suit. Once a post is made, there's no way to correct typos, adjust phrasing, or update information. This can be particularly frustrating for users who want to maintain a professional or polished presence on the platform.
Moreover, Threads currently lacks a feature that allows users to check insights on their posts. This is a crucial feature for brands, influencers, and any user who wishes to understand the reach and impact of their content. Without insights, it's challenging to gauge the effectiveness of posts and strategize future content.
Furthermore, Threads does not support multiple accounts, which can be a significant limitation for social media managers or users who maintain separate personal and professional accounts. The absence of language translation is another missing feature that could limit the app's usability for a global audience.
Beyond the missing features and potential improvements, Threads has also been embroiled in controversies that have raised questions about its integrity and user experience.
Allegations of Censorship and User Extortion
Threads has received criticism regarding its approach to user content, especially in relation to politically sensitive subjects. There have been reports of censorship of factually true stories that were deemed unfavorable to individuals in positions of power. For more specific examples of these allegations, check out this article by Not the Bee. These actions give rise to concerns regarding the platform's dedication to freedom of speech and its potential bias toward suppressing specific political perspectives.
In response to these concerns, Adam Mosseri clarified the account deletion process in a thread. He said:
I've been getting some questions about deleting your account. To clarify, you can deactivate your Threads account, which hides your Threads profile and content, you can set your profile to private, and you can delete individual threads posts – all without deleting your Instagram account. Threads is powered by Instagram, so right now it's just one account, but we're looking into a way to delete your Threads account separately.
This response indicates that Meta is aware of the user's concerns and is actively working on solutions. However, until a separate account deletion feature is implemented, users may still feel apprehensive about fully committing to the Threads platform.
Privacy and Data Tracking Concerns
Concerns have been raised by users regarding Threads' practices of tracking data. Like many other social media platforms, Threads gathers user data for multiple objectives, including targeted advertising. However, the extent and transparency of data collection by the app have been deemed to be excessive by many.
Legal Threats from Twitter
Twitter has threatened to take legal action against Threads, accusing it of engaging in "systematic, willful, and unlawful misappropriation” of Twitter's trade secrets and other intellectual property. Twitter's attorney, Alex Spiro, sent a letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg accusing Threads of hiring dozens of former Twitter employees with the intention of creating a "copycat" platform. Twitter intends to strictly enforce its intellectual property rights and demands that Meta take immediate steps to stop using any Twitter trade secrets or other highly confidential information.
Meta Communications Director Andy Stone responded to these allegations by refuting the claims made, "No one on the Threads engineering team is a former Twitter employee — that's just not a thing."
Elon Musk vs Mark Zuckerberg
As the dust settles on the launch of Threads, the saga between Meta and Twitter continues to unfold. From talks of a cage match to a battle between apps, the rivalry between Meta and Twitter is far from over. As we watch this drama unfold, one thing is clear: the world of social media is in for a wild ride.
Question of the Day
In light of the launch of Threads, what impact do you think it will have on Twitter and other social media platforms?
Quote of the Day
“Don't fear the competition, make the competition fear you” - unknown
This quote suggests adopting a confident and assertive mindset when it comes to facing competition. Instead of being intimidated or discouraged by competitors, it encourages individuals or entities to focus on their own strengths, strategies, and capabilities to the extent that they become a formidable force in the marketplace. It conveys the idea that by being innovative, resilient, and proactive, one can establish a dominant position that instills fear or concern in competitors. It emphasizes the importance of self-belief, determination, and the pursuit of excellence in order to stand out and thrive amidst competition.
Puzzle Pursuit 🔍🧩
Welcome to Puzzle Pursuit! Dive into our crossword puzzle and challenge your mind. As always you can find the answers at the end of the newsletter.
Down: Meta's new app
Across: Popular social media platform known for its 280-character limit
Down: A contest where two or more parties strive for a common goal
Down: They have roots, branches, and leaves, and provide shade and oxygen.
Down: Transparent panes in buildings
Across: A large motor vehicle carrying passengers by road
Across: A country in Northeast Africa known for its pyramids
Welcome back to our Boredom Buster series! Today, we're introducing you to Window Swap, a unique platform that allows you to gaze through someone else's window, from anywhere in the world.
Feeling the itch to travel but can't leave your home? Window Swap is here to help. This website allows people from all around the globe to upload short videos from their windows. You could be looking at a bustling street in Tokyo one minute, then switch to a tranquil forest view in Finland the next.
It's a simple concept, but it's incredibly captivating. Each video offers a brief glimpse into someone else's world, and it's a beautiful reminder of the diversity and beauty of our planet. It's also a great way to satisfy your wanderlust without leaving your couch.
So, next time you're feeling a bit cooped up, why not take a virtual trip with Window Swap? It's a window to the world, one click at a time. Happy window swapping!
Trivia Time 🎲
You'll find the answer at the end of the newsletter. But no peeking!
Join us once again on our linguistic voyage as we dive into the captivating universe of idioms. This time, we're putting the spotlight on the phrase:
"Throw someone under the bus."
Meaning: To sacrifice a friend or ally for selfish reasons; to blame or scapegoat someone, especially when they are not at fault, to save oneself from trouble or criticism.
Origin: The phrase "throw someone under the bus" is relatively new in the grand scheme of idioms. It's believed to have originated in Britain in the late 1970s or early 1980s. The origins of this phrase have been attributed to various sources, including minor league baseball, Cyndi Lauper, and the slang of used car salesman, but the exact first use remains elusive.
The phrase is often used in political, corporate, or other competitive contexts where blame is being assigned or responsibility is being avoided. It serves as a reminder of the lengths some individuals or entities might go to protect their own interests, even at the expense of others.
As we wrap up this issue, we present to you Bulletin Bytes, your concise roundup of the latest news headlines from around the globe
McDonald’s Indonesia is offering a $200 wedding package that includes 100 chicken sandwiches - CNBC
McDonald's Indonesia introduces "Wedding Mekdi," a catering service in Jakarta. The package includes 100 chicken sandwiches and 100 four-piece chicken McNuggets for around $230, serving each guest a combo at $2 per person. On-site food stall service is available for bigger weddings, but ceremonies inside McDonald's are not included. This follows a previous initiative in 2011 when McDonald's in Hong Kong offered catered wedding packages.
Judge pauses NYC $18-per-hour requirement for delivery workers amid lawsuits - The Hill
A judge in New York has paused a rule mandating food delivery companies to pay drivers nearly $18 per hour. DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber filed lawsuits, leading to the preliminary injunction. The rule aimed to raise the average hourly wage of food delivery workers from $7.09 to $17.96, with further increases in the future. The companies argue it would have negative consequences, including higher costs for consumers. A hearing on July 31 will determine if the injunction will continue during the legal proceedings.
Sonic the Hedgehog co-creator given suspended prison sentence for insider trading - The Verge
Yuji Naka, co-creator of Sonic the Hedgehog, received a suspended prison sentence and fines totaling $1.2 million for insider trading. The court sentenced him to 2.5 years in prison, suspended for four years, conditional on no further offenses. Naka was arrested twice in 2020 for insider trading while working at Square Enix. He and his co-workers bought shares in game development studios before public announcements of collaborations with Square Enix.
Canadian judge rules the thumbs up emoji counts as a contract agreement - Engadget
A Canadian judge ruled that a "thumbs-up" 👍 emoji can be a valid contract agreement, equivalent to a physical signature. In a case between a grain buyer and a farmer, the buyer texted a contract agreement, and the farmer confirmed receipt with a thumbs-up emoji. The farmer later backed out, but the judge ruled in favor of the buyer, ordering the farmer to pay almost $62,000. The judge relied on Dictionary.com's definition of the emoji, which signifies assent or approval, rejecting the farmer's argument that it was merely an acknowledgment of receipt.
Delhi High Court dismisses PepsiCo's appeal in potato variety patent case - Business Today
The Delhi High Court dismissed PepsiCo's appeal against the revocation of a patent for a potato variety used in Lay's potato chips. The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Authority revoked the patent in 2021, citing Indian regulations prohibiting patents on seed varieties. Farmers' rights activist Kavitha Kuruganti argued against PepsiCo's patent claim. Despite challenging the decision, PepsiCo's appeal was rejected by the Delhi High Court. The FC5 potato variety, known for its low moisture content, is favored for snack production, including potato chips.
Sen. Schumer asks FDA to look into PRIME, Logan Paul's high-caffeine energy drink - CBS News
Senator Schumer urged the FDA to investigate PRIME, an energy drink brand founded by YouTube stars Logan Paul and KSI. Despite a warning label, it has gained popularity among teens. Each 12-oz. can of PRIME contains 200mg of caffeine, equivalent to about six cans of Coke or two Red Bulls. Schumer criticized the company for targeting children through social media. Excessive caffeine consumption can cause health issues. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against energy drink consumption for children and teens. Some US schools have banned PRIME.
Netherlands: Phone ban announced to stop school disruptions - BBC
The Dutch government will ban mobile phones and devices in classrooms starting next year to maintain focused learning. Tablets and smartwatches are also included in the ban. Exceptions will be made for medical needs, disabilities, and digital skills classes. The effectiveness of the ban will be assessed by the end of the 2024/2025 school year. Similar actions have been taken by Finland, England, and France.
Mercedes-Benz to adopt Tesla’s EV charging standard in North America - CNN
Mercedes-Benz will enable its electric vehicle (EV) drivers to use Tesla's superchargers starting next year, adopting Tesla's charging standard fully by 2025. This follows a trend of automakers making similar deals with Tesla, promoting wider industry adoption. Mercedes-Benz will integrate the North American Charging Standard (NACS), granting access to over 12,000 Tesla supercharger stations. They also plan to establish their own charging network with 2,000 hubs across North America, Europe, and China by the end of the decade. Ford, Rivian, and GM have also gained access to Tesla's EV charging network.
That concludes this edition of Bulletin Bytes. Stay informed and stay safe!
And finally, the moment you've been waiting for. The answers to our Quiz Quest, Puzzle Pursuit, and Trivia Time.
Quiz Quest Answer: Africa
Puzzle Pursuit Answer:
Trivia Time: Green
Did you guess it right? We hope you enjoyed these little brain teasers.
Thank you for joining us on this journey of exploration and learning. We can't wait to see you in the next edition of our newsletter.