In the ever-changing world of technology, the word "thread" has transcended its traditional textile and sewing association, and has become an integral part of modern online communications. "Threads" is the latest trend in social media, which has become the biggest competitor of "Twitter" (Now “X”). Built by the Instagram team, "Threads" is a part of today's "Meta-World". Mark Zuckerberg, in the official page of "Meta", announced that "[their] vision with Threads is to take what Instagram does best and expand that to text, creating a positive and creative space to express your ideas".
Essentially, think of threads as online tables of discussion, with unlimited seats, where people are encouraged to discuss the topic of the thread. Thus, people and personal opinions become the sources of information and the input in this online exchange.
Danger 1: Anonymity reduces accountability
Threads might appear as an interesting innovation, and they are; but you should also be aware of the dangers they come with. As with many spaces online, internet threads preserve the user's anonymity.
This is a blessing and a curse; while anonymity enhances honest expression and eliminates the fear of expressing a controversial opinion, it also encourages the conveyance of false information on purpose, as accountability for one's words and actions is almost impossible. This, of course, may lead to misunderstandings, online dishonesty, and the spreading of false information on purpose.
Danger 2: Not everything you read is true
But how does one distinguish false information from the truth? This question is one of the greatest problems in the "online world". As in every cyberspace, thread-users are free to post their opinions, but in controversial discussions, users may selectively engage with information that confirms their pre-existing beliefs, leading to confirmation bias.
Even if it is supported by evidence, remember to always double-check the information you see. Listen to that little devil's advocate you have in your head asking "Do you believe everything you read?". It is essential to point out that this is a common danger in all cyberspaces. What enhances its presence in "Threads" though, is that, during an active and heated discussion on an ambiguous topic, people are more inclined to support their opinion, even if it is not true. A possible explanation could be the famous "ego" and the incapacity of an individual to admit they're wrong, but let's not get into this.
Danger 3: Loss of Social Face
Lastly, what happens to our social skills? Our ability to communicate "face-to-face"? Spending an excessive amount of time isolated in real life, yet surrounded by millions of people in your cyberlife, may cause you to lose your "social face".
Your social face is your presence in a real-life social context, engaging in social interactions. Threads, though, rely on written dialogues, lacking the nuances of non-verbal cues such as body language, facial expressions and tone of voice. Have you ever misunderstood a message as ironic, when it wasn't? Well, this happens because irony can be difficultly conveyed in a text message. This loss is caused by reduced empathy and non-verbal communication, and is something people fail to take account of.
This article, though, is about what you should know about internet threads, and their dangers are not the only things worth writing about. When one thinks of "threads" in its plural form, the common image that prevails is a chaos of multicolored sewing threads. In reality, that's chaotic.
In the online world, though, this is the greatest form of organization. Each internet thread is a discussion platform for a different topic, each thread is the road to a different destination. Essentially, the main advantage of "Meta's" new addition to Instagram, is that people can talk about topics of their choice, without any irrelevant interruptions, as everyone in this cyper-table of discussion is there for a specific reason.
This specialization of each thread introduces a new aspect of technology in the business world as well. Threads can really concern any topic. This opens a new window to "customer service" for companies.
Resembling the "Frequently Asked Questions" section on the website of a company, threads are a more interactive way to ensure customer satisfaction. Entering the thread you avoid the delay of emails, and participate in a group "livechat", which is much more efficient and user-friendly. Finally, companies create a customer community in threads, which indirectly promotes services: users establish a sense of belonging in that community, and associate positive emotions with the company.
So... What should you know about threads? As with everything online, it comes with its dangers and everyone should look out for them. Double check everything you read, take accountability for your actions and handle this opportunity wisely. Use it to your advantage, it can turn out to be miraculous!