OBSERVATIONS

Why Threads gives me hope for social media

KONRAD OLSSON
Observations from a new social media platform.
January 23, 2024

In Invent & Wander, his anthology of collected writings, Amazon co-founder Jeff Bezos reveals that it’s forbidden to use PowerPoint presentations to communicate internally in the company. Instead, he has implemented a system where all new ideas or projects need to be described in a 6-page memo (yes, always six pages). Slides, Bezos claims, are too much of a selling tool, and ideas are meant to be discussed and dissected, not sold onto your teammates.

Also: it’s all too easy to hide bullshit in bullet points.

Upon arriving at the meeting when the issue at hand is to be discussed, the team all sit and read the memo together, in silence. This is to alleviate any stress of having to read it beforehand or – worse – having people pretend to have read it a desperately skim it during the meeting.

Only after this has happened, when everyone has the basic concept of the issue top of mind, can the discussion begin.

He calls this principle: “a crisp document and a messy meeting.”

I think of this when I think of Threads, the new Twitter-like social media platform from Meta that was recently unleashed on residents of the European Union.

I became a fan of the platform immediately. After having spent the last 15 years only cultivating my Instagram och LinkedIn followings, I’ve been wanting to get on a purely text-based platform. Sure, there was Twitter, now X, but I left that place 13 years ago and haven’t been back since. The thought of recreating a decent following there felt exhausting, even more so since Elon Musk seemed to have turned the place into a political war zone.

The ability to port my followers and followings from Instagram onto Threads was immensely appealing. But after having used it for a couple of weeks, the feed started to gain a clarity of its own. I began to unfollow all the video-focused and visually driven accounts from Instagram: fashion influencers, foodies, fitness tips, and standup comedy. And I started to lean into my interest in reading and writing.

A few weeks in, Threads has become a place where indulge in book recommendations, philosophical quotes, and poetry. I’ve discovered masters like Mary Oliver (ready Wild Geese and try to withstand its beauty, I dare you!). I’ve chuckled at learning how Susan Orlean always falls asleep listening to true crime podcasts. And I get my fix on accounts like Alex and Books, one of the best business book recommendation engines out there.

In the best possible way, Threads has become a place where I interact with my lifelong interest in writing.

Which leads me to the unpopular point of this column: I recently came to realise just how positive of an impact social media has on my life.

I know, I know… we are all fighting against the doom scrolling of the dopamine machine. And yes, Team Zuckerberg has been the instigator of everything from a real-life coup d’état to an epidemic of teen depression.

But personally, I have so much to thank social media for. There have been so many book recommendations, so much business advice, so many life hacks and workout programs, so much style inspiration and interior design tips, so many food suggestions and music experiences, so much laughter, insights, and just pure entertainment. It feels dangerous to say it, but social media is just an awesome invention that has enriched my life more than I can describe.

In the ever-growing tsunami that is our media landscape, which is about to be exponentially more intense thanks to AI-generated content, it’s essential to find a sense of clarity in your own media routine. Being conscious about who you follow, and more importantly due to the algorithm, what you engage with, is more important than ever.

They say you are what you consume. To me, that was always half the truth. What you consume is chaotic and unpredictable. Like messy meetings.

You are what you create. Keep it crisp.