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Threading A Conversation On Threads (With Early Adopters Of The Social Media App In Dubai) 30 million people took notice of the new app only in the first 24 hours after its launch, and it's been downloaded more than 104 million times at the time of writing.

By Tamara Pupic

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

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Last Thursday, when Meta launched Threads, Twitter's latest (and perhaps fiercest) competitor, CEO Mark Zuckerberg declared his vision of building a "public conversations app with more than one billion people," promising to make it "a friendly place." And in a little less than a week, we've all been pondering the question of what it takes for a new social media app to captivate people's attention, while also sparking new forms of behavior. After all, 30 million people took notice of the new app only in the first 24 hours after its launch, and it's been downloaded more than 104 million times at the time of writing.

For Alexandra Carvalho, the founder of Dubai-based digital media consultancy Alex's House of Social, there was never a question about adding Threads to the mix of social media platforms that she already uses, simply because she chooses "to be curious," always. "People, especially marketers and personal brands, spend more time judging when something new arrives, but judgment gets you nowhere, whilst being open to learning and experimenting are the winning ingredients," Carvalho points out.

Now, that's a tactic that Careem, the Dubai-headquartered super app, is known to have taken to heart to build its engaging presence on social media. Indeed, Careem has its channels on Twitter (72,900+ followers), Instagram (37,000+ followers), LinkedIn (421,992+ followers), TikTok (2,500+ followers)- and it now also has one on Threads. "Each of these platforms allows us to reach a different set of audiences, with content catering to each subset accordingly," says Ahmad Dghaim, Director of Social Media at Careem. "We joined Threads as we would with any new social media platform- to experiment with it, and see how we can use it to communicate with customers, colleagues, and Captains."

Naomi D'Souza, CEO of Dubai-based marketing agency xNDigitize, echoes a similar sentiment when she says that joining any social media platform that bursts on the scene is a part of her job. "When it's only been around for 40 hours since its launch, my clients have already been asking me about Threads, including the pros and cons of it," she says. "As a new platform, Threads has the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of other social media platforms, and build a better experience for users. I'm excited about the potential for Threads to create a more intimate and personal connection between users."

Threads' rise on the social media ranks has definitely been helped by the fact that its users are given an option to easily import their friends and followers from Instagram. But there remains the question of whether Threads will succeed in instilling more kindness into the social media platforms globally. That said, D'Souza opines that there is a lot of excitement and innocence in the infancy stage of any new platform, but it's appearing to be more in the case of Threads since "its rival, Twitter, is deemed to be 'mean' and 'bullyish' in nature, by many." Carvalho agrees with D'Souza on this point, saying, "I also wanted to try Threads, because I always found Twitter toxic, which I never enjoyed, and so, this gave me a new opportunity."

But it's not just people who have latched on to the potential presented by Threads- brands, large and small, are eyeing the benefits it presents at this particular stage in time. "It's a brand new space, and people can see you much better before it gets crowded, which is hard when platforms reach their mature phase," Carvalho notes. "I knew that Threads would be a great way to connect with people and brands that, on other platforms, won't reply or engage with you, and so far, I've had really awesome interactions with them. Threads is still more prominent in the US, and since I already have a US following on my Instagram, with Threads, I can grow that following even more."

Related: Five Hacks To Make The Most Of Your Social Media Strategy

L-R: Alexandra Carvalho (Alex's House of Social), Naomi D'Souza (xNDigitize), Ahmad Dghaim (Careem), and Hiba Balfaqih.

In order to capitalize on this first mover's advantage on Threads, Carvalho urges its users to not be obsessed with finding the "right" strategy, but instead to be creative and experiment with different formats. "Use images and videos as you can upload up to 10 on one thread, so you can take a cool carousel Instagram post, and try it on Threads," she says. "Also, share your personal life, your thoughts, ideas, quotes. Show us your products, tell us your story. To grow a following in the early days, you need to be posting regularly- I jumped to 1,000 followers in just 24 hours." Another piece of advice from Carvalho is to always remember to engage with others. "For the amount of effort you put on creating your threads, do the same with interacting with other people and brands, meet new people, engage with brands, and have great banter! Remember that, and, most importantly, let's cultivate a way to communicate with one another with kindness and respect, even when we don't agree."

From D'Souza's viewpoint, being creative, engaged, and consistent is key. "Threads is a new platform, so there are no established rules or norms, which means you have the freedom to be creative, and experiment with different ways to use the platform," she says. "Threads currently does not have hashtags, neither does it enable a user to search specific phrases, and nor does it have any specific trends yet, which means that the competing factor or pressure to stay up-to-date or constantly post, isn't there (yet). And don't expect to become an overnight success. Just keep creating great content and engaging with other users, and you'll eventually start to see results."

Speaking on behalf of Careem, Dghaim says that the company aims to infuse its own culture into any social media platform that it is a part of, and it does this by taking the time to gain deeper insights about it, and then acting accordingly. "We always choose to understand the purpose of each platform, and why people join it," Dghaim says. "After all, the reason someone joins LinkedIn is very different from the reason they join Instagram. Then, we learn about the audience, and test and learn to understand what works for our brand on each platform. There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution for social media."

But for all of the hype around using Threads, there is also a case to be made about figuring out, well, whether you need to be on a new social media platform in the first place. "I'm not quite sure if this new platform is value-adding, or just another tool that distracts us from staying focused on our goals," says Hiba Balfaqih, a Dubai-based psychologist and mindset therapist. According to her, it appears that the fear of missing out (FOMO) is a key factor in driving new users to Thread.

"It is important to note that experiencing such a rush can be exhilarating , and it may provide a sense of novelty and excitement, which triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with reward and pleasure, leading to 'false' positive emotions," she points out. "In the case of Threads, FOMO can manifest as a fear of missing out on opportunities, content, or connections that others are experiencing. This can be damaging, as it may lead to increased stress, feelings of inadequacy, and a constant need to be connected or engaged with the platform. It can also disrupt one's ability to be fully present in real-life experiences, impacting overall well-being and mental health."

As such, Balfaqih advises mindful awareness and self-regulation when making use of Threads- or any other social media platform, for that matter. "Reflect on your values and priorities, as this can help you make informed decisions about how you invest your time and energy," she explains. "Limit your exposure by setting boundaries, and allocating specific times for engaging with Threads or similar platforms. Avoid mindless scrolling, or excessive comparison." She also recommends being compassionate to oneself, cultivating meaningful offline connections, and practicing gratitude. "Regularly acknowledge and appreciate the positive aspects of your own life, rather than fixating on what others may be experiencing," Balfaqih adds.

At the end of the day, perhaps the lingering question in everyone's minds is whether Threads will live long despite this initial hype around it- just look at the stories of Clubhouse or Google+, for instance. "I have a feeling it is here to stay," Carvalho declares. "It came at the right time- it's a great masterclass on how having the right timing can have a huge impact. If it had been launched before, we would perhaps not be seeing such huge hype." Careem's Dghaim adds, "No one can predict the longevity of the app. However, the synergy between Instagram and Threads will give people more motivation to join, versus having people migrate en masse from Twitter."

Meanwhile, D'Souza bases her predictions on Threads on Meta's "fediverse" (a combination of the words "federation" and "universe"), which states that in the future the Threads app will be based on "a collection of decentralized social media platforms that operate using open standards and protocols," and allow "users to interact and communicate across multiple platforms seamlessly." DSouza says, "It's basically a decentralized system, and it changes the whole social media game. Imagine, you can't even deactivate Threads unless you leave Instagram too! It is quite a brilliant strategy to retain multiple sign-ups! I do believe that it has the potential to be a long-term success."

What's your take on the Threads app- maybe tell us on Threads?

Related: The Business Of Social Media Influencers In The UAE

Tamara Pupic

Entrepreneur Staff

Managing Editor, Entrepreneur Middle East

Tamara Pupic is the Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Middle East.

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