Thread is a new app launching this week. According to Thread’s app store listing, it is “for group chats and stories that find you great content and helps creators get paid.” On Thread, you can explore news articles curated for you and share them in private direct messages, group chats, or stories, all without the pressures of likes and follower counts. The Pace Press sat down with University student Daniel Estreicher, a Communications major currently interning at Thread to discuss the launch of the app.
Kelsey Nicholson: What can you tell us about Thread?
Daniel Estreicher: On Thread, there are no public comment threads, so there are no trolls that could hijack a thread and spam it with their own agenda. It’s completely private; the goal is to show the user articles that they are genuinely interested in and allow content creators to get monetized.
KN: What kind of content would be shared?
DE: Right now, we’re focusing on news articles and different forms of journalism. Anything creative that content creators want to publish will be fair game. In the future, we plan to allow content creators to monetize their work and allow them to publish weekly or monthly content that people can subscribe to. That will hopefully be in the next few months or so.
KN: Do users create profiles?
DE: Yes. Once you launch the app, it gives you the prompt to create a username, that way friends and family can find you and you can add each other. After creating your profile, it will give you a few categories you can subscribe to, like sports, technology, or politics. One of the really cool features of the app is you can sign up for personalized times when you want to get notifications. For example, if you have a break between classes on Monday and you want to know what’s going on in the world, you can subscribe to world news and get notifications specifically at the time you choose.
KN: Who do you think this app will appeal to most?
DE: Currently, our demographic is anywhere from 18 to 30. I think anyone can benefit from this app because, at the heart of it, it is for content creators and users to start conversations and be genuinely interested in what they are reading. It’s commonplace for social media algorithms to force articles and posts on users even if it isn’t something they’re interested in reading. The team at Thread prides itself on eliminating all of that and personally curating what the user actually wants to read.
KN: How has your experience in the Communications department helped you work with Thread?
DE: To name drop Professor Min, I’ve taken three classes of his and I knew as soon as I got the internship at Thread that I would want to tell him first. I know he used to oversee The Pace Press and has been working in the field of journalism, specifically digital journalism, and he is very well-versed. A lot of my experiences in his classes have really come into play in terms of deciding how to market the app in a sea of apps that claim to do similar things. I believe that Thread actually cares about the user and will eliminate algorithms and intrusive posts that users don’t want to see.
KN: What are your duties at Thread?
DE: My title is Digital Marketing Intern, so I have been tasked to compile lists of possible content creators, like photographers and comedians, as well as different writers and actors. In the following weeks after launch, we will be doing a few in-person promotions. We are planning to start a pop-up booth in Union Square to hand out stickers and flyers to familiarize people with the app. We’ve also been tweaking our Twitter and Instagram pages.
We feel there is a lot of overlap in social media, so we are trying to use different platforms to target different audiences. For example, on Instagram, what we’re going to try to do in the next few weeks is reach out to content creators and students who may be burnt-out on mainstream social media and do quick weekly interview-style videos asking what they are looking for in social media in hopes of getting more people to talk about the app.
KN: Do you have a date for the Union Square pop-up yet?
DE: We do not have a date for that currently, but we are planning to do it in the next few weeks.
KN: For you as a college student, what do you think is the main issue with social media today? Do you feel any burnout?
DE: I certainly agree that the constant pushing of algorithms and posts that are unwanted is unnecessary and can really dull the experience of surfing the web. I also think that with a lot of social media nowadays, it’s all about numbers with follower counts and likes. Everyone is constantly refreshing their Instagram or Twitter accounts to see how many likes they got. To me, that just takes away from the focus of what it is that you’re aiming to do on any given app. With Thread, there won’t be stress about likes or followers, as those seem to promote unhealthy behavior and obsessiveness.
KN: A lot of times for content creators, monetization relies on likes and followers. If there any precise numbers, what will the monetization be based on?
DE: While I can’t say for sure entirely, I know that a lot of the people we are planning to reach out to in the coming weeks and months already have a following on mainstream social media apps. I’m not sure how payment rates will be determined, though.
KN: Did you find this internship on your own or did the University’s Career Services office help you look?
DE: I actually found the listing on Handshake (shout out to Handshake). I read the description and realized that as a Communications student who is interested in digital journalism that it would be a great fit. I applied, heard back from one of the co-founders, we had a short phone conversation, and then the next day I was invited to meet them at their office. They hired me and I’ve been working for college credit ever since. It’s been a great experience.
Thread was officially released on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. You can download it on the iOS app store. https://apps.apple.com/us/app/thread-discover-and-share/id1462203249