Why Mark Zuckerberg's new Threads app to rival Twitter leaves me cold: Bird Lovegod
The Threads I refer to is of course the 1984 film of a nuclear war, set in Yorkshire, and the images of milkbottles melting in the heat and Sheffield city centre being reduced to a hellscape are part and parcel of the unforgettable production seared into the minds of the generations who lived through it.
It’s curious there aren’t more films about nuclear war, although perhaps that particular end game, unlike zombies, asteroids, and alien invaders, has no upside whatsoever and wouldn’t be the box office hit that Hollywood requires.
Now, in 2023, Threads has returned, not as a sequel to the Armageddon Up North but something likely to be just as toxic with an equally insidious social fallout.
The new and possibly even less beneficial to the species version of Threads I refer to is of course to Mr Mark Metaberg’s latest addition to the human experience, the new ‘Twitter clone’ he’s clearly felt compelled to create after his metaverse dream panned.
And who can blame him.
In a world bedevilled with ecological collapse, social unrest, food and fuel poverty, global climate crisis, perma war, and 2 billion people without access to clean drinking water, what else should a multi billionaire with all the people and resources and almost infinite finance focus on other than making a new app for people to share gossip on. Another app, just like Twitter.
That’s the pain point of the planet right there. Not enough Twitter clones. Sigh.
Imagine having all the money and power you can imagine, and the best you can imagine is that. But one-trick ponies rarely change their spots, so another social media app it is.
I find this new iteration of Threads even more disheartening than the first. It’s linked to Instagram, the home of wannabes and look-at-me’s and as such it’s likely to carry over the same people, the same ethos, the same ‘mood’, that being a strange pseudo reality where actual life is filtered to remove authenticity and everyone is simultaneously trying to influence, be original, be admired, and belong to an identifiable group of followers. It’s a mire of personality defects. Now shareable as a 500 character text.
We don’t need another Twitter clone. We need a new ethos in business, a new reason and purpose for business to exist. All these social platforms, with their AI and tracking and data scraping, it’s so hollow, so petty and pointless and futile. The bigger they get, the more of a folly they become. It’s all so much effort and money and resources and talent and potential converted into so much drivel and vacuity.
The opportunity cost of such things is vast. These tech giants could do so much good it would be world-transforming, changing the very course of humanity. Yet they have such trivial purpose; to sell more ads and make more money, that the transformation they achieve is equally trivial and the course of humanity they set is just an amplification of the noise of our laboured breathing.
We need role models, people who live a truth and leave footprints worth following.
Instead we have lip filler influencers.
Bird Lovegod is MD of Ethical Much