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Marketing experts weigh in on changes to ‘X’

Threads subscribers leveling off

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It’s been a summer of change for the social media site formerly known as Twitter. It rebranded as “X” earlier this month. In July, it gained a competitor in “Threads,” a new social media platform launched by Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg.

“What Threads has in its favor is it starts with Facebook, which has a almost three billion users and Instagram has over two billion users,” said Dr. Kim Saxton, a clinical professor of marketing with IU’s Kelley School of Business.

Saxton says the average American is subscribed to seven different social media sites that they regularly use, which equates to a more fragmented landscape.

Threads eclipsed 100 million users after its debut on July 5, but subscriptions have leveled off in recent weeks. Threads is trying to reignite interest by launching a desktop version.

“X” owner Elon Musk made changes to Twitter that drove some users away, including charging users for verification and floating the idea of removing the block feature.

“It’s just gotten so bizarre. It’s just so unpredictable, and there has just been so much drama, and people move away from drama, they don’t like it,” said Saxton.

Mike Gruszczynski, associate professor of communication sciences at IU’s Media School, said users will often flee from social media sites they perceive lack content moderation.

“One of the things that drives engagement is people hearing and seeing things that they are interested in, and maybe not hearing alternative viewpoints, things that make them uncomfortable,” said Gruszczynski.

Saxton says Threads doesn’t have the hashtag feature other sites have, and still lacks the ability for advertisers to communicate with users.