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Battle of the Microbloggers

Meme of social media apps

Battle of the Microbloggers (X & Threads).

What’s going on?
Post-Twitter, there are two new apps to check out — X and Threads. Early responses reveal that consumers aren’t committed to either yet.


  • Microblogging is a form of online communication that allows users to share short, concise updates or posts of information or thoughts, typically limited to a specific character or word count.
  • X, formerly known as Twitter, was purchased by Elon Musk in October 2022 with the goal of transforming it from a social platform to “the everything app.” What once was known for its 140-character tweets is now promising to be an “AI-powered platform centered in audio, video, messaging, payments and banking.”
  • Instagram launched Threads in July 2023 as a direct competitor to X, creating a fresh approach to sharing text posts and joining public conversations within content creation options. Developed under Meta’s company umbrella, it offers integration with other Meta-owned products like Facebook, Instagram and Oculus.

Twitter’s August 1 rebrand to X resulted in a massive decline in app downloads. (There currently are only 56 million users). Among its many recent changes, X removed the platform’s blocking feature, raising concern about enabling harassment, bullying and stalking. At least two companies pulled ads from X in late August after their ads appeared alongside neo-Nazi content. Another glitch on the platform caused photos posted before December 2014 to be deleted.

With X’s persistent decline there has been demand for more text-based offerings like Threads. The new platform surpassed 100 million users globally in just five days post-launch. Included among those new and actively posting accounts are health system brands like AdventHealth, Baylor Scott & White Health, Cleveland Clinic, Houston Methodist and Mayo Clinic. Learn why some of them joined Threads.

Gen Z personal account users said they downloaded Threads for the following reasons:

Insider Intelligence Graph of Threads app downloads

But the novelty may already be wearing off, as active Threads users have plummeted 82% after just one month. While its Instagram integration made for faster Threads signups, the two platforms’ environments (photo/video vs microblogging) might be too contradictory. Or perhaps Threads just isn’t the “Twitter killer” app it was chalked up to be. Meta isn’t giving up yet though and aims to breathe new life into the app by bringing it to the big screen (i.e., your desktop), adding direct messaging, improving search functionalities, and providing better recommendations.

What's The Squeeze?
It appears the old adage, “the grass isn’t always greener” applies to microblogs, too.

Elon Musk’s goal to create “the everything app” out of X is seemingly getting more unrealistic by the day. And Threads may or may not be the new Twitter — only time will tell. But here are three key takeaways for healthcare communications professionals to keep top of mind based on what we know today:

  1. Continue to invest in social video. Even with demand for new text-based apps like Threads and X, we’ve seen that consumers still prefer video. Facebook, YouTube and Instagram remain the top three social media platforms most often used by SPM Consumer Compass® respondents. Brands should focus on high-impact consumption (i.e., video) versus trying to jump on a moving train with an unknown destination (i.e., Threads).

  2. Paid advertising is strongly not recommended on X and not yet available on Threads. If your organization chooses to join either platform, use this as a trial period to test, monitor and optimize your content.

  3. Although social media is a trend-driven ecosystem, any content you post should always be driven by a strategy. Starting with a social media content strategy helps you stay focused, choose platforms that will resonate with your audience and maximize the business benefit of your efforts. To jumpstart your social strategy with a resource from SPM Group’s GLC, click the button below.

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