Threads Celebrates 1st Birthday With 175 Million Friends

…But Elon Musk’s Wild X Party Is Still Making The Most Noise 🥳

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Hello, geeks!

I don’t think I have ever felt as tired as I do this week. 😴

I’ll explain why in a moment.

But first… Which ONE emoji is at risk of going extinct globally? 🤔

Make your guess. » Reveal the answer « 👀

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Last week was one of the most mind-blowing weeks I have had this year.

Two words. Glastonbury Festival. I know it’s a cliché to say it, but it really is one of the best experiences on this planet. 🤯

My shot from Coldplay’s Pyramid Stage performance

I spent 5 days and 6 nights partying, listening to some of the biggest artists in the world with my most favourite people. ❤️

I randomly bumped into Noel Gallagher, Dua Lipa, and Fatboy Slim strolling around Worthy Farm amongst us ‘normal’ folks. A very WTF moment! 🤩

But I averaged just four hours sleep most nights. And walked over 45 miles / 110,000 steps!. My feet and my mind are blown to bits as I recover from it all this week. 🚶🏻

Being able to completely disconnect from work, homelife… and social media!… for a week was the blissful digital detox my ADHD brain needed.

Although my iPhone did blow up when the BBC’s live coverage of Coldplay’s headline performance on the Pyramid Stage zoomed in on my face during ‘Fix You’.

Watch the moment it happened… along with highlights of my Glastonbury experience. 👀 🎶

Alrighty then… Let’s get back to business and bring you up to speed with everything that went down in social media land this week… 👇

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DON’T MISS THIS…

I subscribe to dozens of awesome newsletters to get the inside scoop on the latest social media news and trends.

But Semafor’s Media Newsletter is one of my most useful sources.

I highly recommend you subscribe. It’s free. Check it out 👇

The Must-Read Media Newsletter Top Marketers Swear By

Sick of getting your news secondhand via social media? This is for you.

Semafor’s Media Newsletter takes you straight to the source, uncovering the political, cultural, and financial forces that shape the media landscape.

Penned by industry veterans Ben Smith (ex-BuzzFeed News) and Max Tani, who have a combined 20+ years reporting in the trenches, Semafor Media isn't just news – it's the inside track on how news gets made. 

Expect sharp analysis, the occasional juicy scoop, and insights you can leverage in your own social strategy.

It’s one of my go-to news sources for Geekout Newsletter.

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🔥 GEEKOUT HOT 5

Geekout’s pick of the hottest headlines in social this week

  1. Meta’s ‘Pay or Consent’ Ad Free Subscription Violates EU Competition Rules [RULE-BREAKING]

  2. Elon Musk To Get Final EU Warning Over Dangerous Content On X [THREATENING]

  3. X Is Considering Adding A Downvote Button To Replies [REDDIT-ING]

  4. X Is Also Getting Rid Of Repost, Like, And Reply Buttons And Counts [REDESIGNING].

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  • Geekout has an industry-beating open rate of 52% and a 13% click rate!

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🚨 EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT…

Threads turns 1 with a challenge on its hands

Happy birthday Threads: one year ago today, Meta launched its Twitter challenger into the world.

An initial rush of success, powered by more media coverage than any social platform has ever had on its launch day, gave way to a slump in usage. But Meta has managed to turn the platform into a true success, with 175 million. monthly active users. I’ve got more usage stats for you here.

A lot of the framing of coverage this week has been around Meta’s ambition to overtake X as the number one place to share ideas online.

But can it really do that? For all the ways Elon Musk has trashed it, X remains a place with a true ‘vibe’ and personality. There’s a solid reason people go there - real-time information and opinion still thrives on X even if it’s not quite as essential as it once was.

Every social platform needs its unique reason for users to visit, but Threads just hasn’t found one yet. It all feels a bit ‘plastic’ and soulless. It looks like Twitter but feels like Facebook.

Anyone who has ever posted anything that has become even remotely popular on Threads will know what I mean. Post a joke and you’ll get a bunch of very sincere replies from people who think you’re being serious. Make a serious point and you’ll get replies from strangers making the same point as 20 other people who have already replied because the algorithm put you in their feed.

Meta’s insistence on not boosting politics in your feed unless you know which setting to toggle certainly helps Threads from feeling as angry and stupid as X often can, but the company really needs to work on making the app feel more buzzing and alive.

The insistence of defaulting to the algorithmic feed ruins that feeling, even if it gives you ‘better’ content more quickly. Set up the desktop web view properly and you can get that realtime feel, with an auto-updating feed of the people you follow, but on mobile, X really does have the edge in that regard.

Until Threads has that air of being the place to go to hear from influential people right now, X will always have an edge for anyone who can stomach its connection to Elon Musk.

And Threads has another challenge on the horizon: how can it add ads to the app without driving users away? We’ll find out sooner rather than later.

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NEW & NOTEWORTHY

Everything else you need to know from the past seven days…

Meta 👥

Instagram

WhatsApp / Threads 💬 🧵

Twitter (‘X’) 🤡

YouTube 📺

TikTok 📱

Snapchat / Telegram / Reddit / More 🔥

🔥 Want to see more hot NEW features spotted in the wild this week?

Just head to the More news’ section below!

💬 YOU CAN QUOTE ME ON THAT

When I’m quoted in the news, you’ll find it here:

I spoke to the AP about the social media battle for voters in the UK general election, and why Nigel Farage and Reform UK nailed it on TikTok.

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😆 LOL

This is painfully true!

…so is this:

This perfectly sums up Threads right now…

….and a belated Happy 4th of July from Zuck

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📈 MEMES

Last week’s Glastonbury Festival had lots of great music… but the flags were almost as good:

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🪧 BRANDS

This is an interesting read. A generative AI chatbot scanned 80,000 active subreddits.

  • Shake Shack found 30 subreddits specific to those contextual conversations and ran targeted ads across those subreddits promoting its Chicken Shack Sundays giveaway in April.

  • The 10-day campaign resulted in over 13,000 ad clicks, surpassing its benchmarks for the platform by 31%. And it drove people into the Shack

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🗳️ ELECTION SOCIAL

Politics is always a tricky area for brands to get right on social media, but these ones nailed it on the UK’s election day yesterday:

🌡️ VIRAL

Influencer Nara Smith’s homemade sunscreen has gone viral… but dermatologists aren’t keen:

Also:

  • Why Hawk Tuah went so viral: A great dissection of the viral video that made Hailey Welch TikTok famous overnight.

  • …and Hailey Welch explained how the viral clip has upended her life and doesn’t want it to ‘be her image’

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🙊 WHAT DID YOU SAY?!

“Reach is a perennial problem… It is in our interest to help people's reach grow. If you're creating content that people want to see, if we show it to them, they'll be happy, you'll be happy, and our business will grow. If we don't, we're just leaving value on the table. I feel like people don't always believe me when I say that, but that is very, very much true.”

Instagram and Threads boss Adam Mosseri insists he does care about your reach

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👀 MY FAV READS

“Skibidi Toilet is the first hit narrative series to be told entirely through short-form video, showing Gen Alpha’s impact on the entertainment world…”

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😮 WTF?!

Won’t SOMEBODY think of the weeping police officers carrying enormous bibles?

  • Facebook is running ads for an addictive drug that’s banned in numerous countries

  • A Snapchat influencer's AI clone went very off script and got scary

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🤦 FAIL

ID verification for social media platforms sounds like a good idea, until the ID checking service screws up…

Also:

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👔 YOU’RE HIRED!

Social media jobs worth knowing about:

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👌 PRO TIPS

Get up to date with the shift to shares on Instagram:

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🤖 SOCIAL A.I.

All the ways A.I. is transforming social media:

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📊 SOCIAL STATS

65%

– The amount of young people who consider themselves video content creators - a real generational shift

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📈 CHARTED

How Threads usage has grown over the past year

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MORE META NEWS

  • Quest 3 seems to have sold at least 1 million units. [Upload VR]

  • Brazil has told Meta to change its privacy policy in the country. [Reuters $$$]

  • Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts are best for creators getting started, according to top creators at VidCon. [Business Insider]

  • Quest 3 seems to have sold at least 1 million units. [Upload VR]

New features and tests:

Facebook:

  • Facebook has a new and hidden way of enabling or disabling notifications. [@oncescuradu]

Instagram:

  • Instagram is testing a new sharing interface on iOS. [@oncescuradu]

  • Instagram has added a lead form under the 'Set Up Action' button. [@jonahmanzano]

Threads:

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MORE TIKTOK NEWS

  • Nigel Farage’s TikTok is run by a right-wing Zoomer. [The Standard]

  • TikTok has expanded its partnership with Captiv8’s influencer marketing platform. [WWD]

  • TikTok has been named official entertainment partner for the first esports world cup. [TechTimes]

  • Voting has opened for the TikTok Book Awards UK & Ireland 2024. [TikTok Newsroom]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

New features and tests:

  • TikTok is testing a new post UI. [@oncescuradu]

  • TikTok now lets you upload a custom thumbnail from your gallery directly in the app. [@jonahmanzano]

  • TikTok is testing a new gesture-based feature: ‘Swipe left to try effects’. [@oncescuradu]

  • TikTok now allows you to create playlists on desktop. [@jonahmanzano]

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💥 EVEN MORE SOCIAL MEDIA NEWS & UPDATES

  • The US Supreme Court has thrown out judicial decisions involving challenges to Republican-backed laws in Florida and Texas that restricted the power of social media companies to remove or down-rank objectionable content. [The Guardian]

  • The ‘Hawk Tuah’ woman is leaning into her fame by trying to build her personal brand. [Hollywood Reporter]

  • A federal judge has blocked a Mississippi law that required age verification on social media. [The Verge]

  • BeReal staff are being laid off just weeks after the startup was acquired by gaming company Voodoo. [Business Insider]

  • YouTube says Gen Z may love fan-made content more than original content. [Mashable]

  • Twitch CEO Dan Clancy believes generative AI will enhance livestreaming experiences. [Business Insider]

New features and tests:

  • Snapchat now shows birthdays from your contacts. [@jonahmanzano]

  • Snapchat is testing its own app clips on iOS. [@jonahmanzano]

  • Fizz, the anonymous Gen Z social app, adds a marketplace for college students. [TechCrunch]

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📰 WEEKEND READS

Geekout’s pick of the top longer reads to sink into over the weekend

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😳 AND FINALLY…

Why leave any money on the table, Lily? Work those feet! 🦶🤢

I’ve had a long-time celebrity crush on Lily Allen and was in a DM chat with her for a while (true story), but I think I’ll give this one a miss…

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📅 BACK NEXT WEEK…

… And that’s this week’s Geekout debriefing done.

My eyes are barely managing to stay open as I type this outro.

So, in the words of the legend that is Biff Tannen:

I’m heading off to get 18 hours of sleep, so that I don’t look like death on Saturday night when i’m heading out for a first date.

Wish me luck 🤞❤️

Goodbye, geeks!

p.s. This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant

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