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  • Writer's pictureJB Favour

Zuckerberg's Bold but Flawed Bid to Dethrone Twitter – A Deep Dive into the Adrenaline-Fueled Fail.

You live long enough on earth and you begin to see crazy stuff. Stuff like writing an article that openly praises Elon. Now unless by two things; you live under a rock or accidently landed on earth after your alien space ship crashed, you definitely know who the Elon Musk is.


But if it’s neither, you have no idea how much trouble you’ve saved yourself.


And back to those of us who understand how much Elon isn’t exactly people’s fave, you’ll probably share the same sentiments as the writer of this piece.


But hey, truth must be spoken so let’s get on with it.


On July 6th, 2023, Mark Zuckerberg known as the CEO of Meta (Facebook) broke the internet with news of an app described as the next Twitter.


Even ironic is the fact that he took to the same app he was supposedly going to be competing with to make this declaration. And trust the internet to go Holly Molly crazy!


Mark Zuckerberg's tweet about Threads on Twitter

Tweets rolled out, needles and threads were taken out and people began weaving even the most hilarious takes.


Hashtags were trended and soon needle or was it thread? Yeah, Threads soon became the fastest app to reach thirty million users in 24 hours, a record previously held by Chat GPT.


Talk about some serious sewing because this alone is some insane feat!





However, there were haters and rightfully so. A lot of people were quick to call out the app’s shabby design and interface like a rebranded Twitter with some fresh paint. It looked like something done in a rush with Zuckerberg working his staff into the night to launch an app without much background preparation even though public announcements say the app had already been in development since 2022.


He was taking advantage of a very crucial moment and as a business man, the best time to take over is when there’s a layover right?


Plus Elon was doing such a great job laying Twitter over in the mud since he took ownership. With him calling the shots, the public outrage had been hideous since Jack Dorsey, its former CEO left.


From mass firing Twitter employees to openly mocking public opinions and even making drastic changes and decisions that were implemented almost round the clock. Twitter was literally trending on Twitter for days and all for no good.

A meme showing Twitter killed by Elon Musk

Just when we thought it couldn’t get worse, Elon thought of a way to do just that. Brilliant genius!


But there's more. Like a mix of the perfect Dr. Evil with a blend of masterful business tactics and ploys, Elon knows how to play a long game. He somehow manages to ride the most dangerous wave and never drown and for that, you’ve got to respect the man.


Perhaps this was what made him an unpredictable opponent. One that Zuckerberg clearly underestimated. Following Elon’s announcement that verification on Twitter would now come at a cost, a monthly subscription of $8, the court of public opinions held a hearing.


The people vs. Elon and it looked like the people would definitely win. Tons of people began to announce their departure or boycott of Twitter. Notable figures, celebrities, and names who almost automatically got verified lost it in the blink of an eye. And now every Tom, Dick and Harry could buy a blue check mark just like that! Elitism eliminated.


Predictions began to roll in and of course the articles, media and blogs all had something to say on the crash and burn of Twitter.

A meme about people leaving Twitter

Everyone had a say on how much longer before Elon kills off Twitter permanently.


And even ex-employees began going on interviews to talk about what it was like with Elon in charge.


It was a full blown crisis, major disaster, an opportunity that Zuckerberg found irresistible. But it was bait.



You see, Twitter thrived on its branding and user experience. And what was that?

Controversy.


How many of us found out about Twitter from the numerous hilarious, sarcastic or oddly relatable screenshots of tweets that made its way to Facebook, Instagram, Social Forums and much more?


People dreaded coming on the app because it was branded as the most savage platform. You could get roasted for the slightest stuff as much as blow up for it too.


The folks who use Twitter are pretty unforgiving too. People could dig up decades old tweets just to make a point or land a blow. But there was something else, the users are also fiercely loyal.


Twitter gave unimaginable experience for its users. The humor was unmatched. The platform could literally be anything you want it to be. A movie platform, a news site, a gossip center and even a porn site.


It was Walmart but even better. And the toxicity it thrived on was its greatest selling point, a branding that Jack had built from the scratch.


Elon knew this and only added more fuel. And like a hungry cougar, Twitter soaked all of it and burned. Too bad, Zuckerberg rushed it thinking it was going to burn itself to the ground.


Well guess who got burned?


With the announcement of Threads, tons of active social media users flocked to open accounts that would mean their exit from Twitter.


But if you’re going to try to replace Twitter, how about create something that caters to the needs of the audience you’re trying to capture? It’s not clear if Zuckerberg skipped market research but the interface and design of his new app spots three branding mistakes that ultimately made his adrenaline inspired attempt a fast fail.


ONE: Absence of a Brand Story

Users are emotional beings. You give them a story and center your messaging and marketing from the emotions you can evoke.


Did You Know? Twitter Co-founder Biz Stone drew inspiration from basketball legend Larry Bird, giving our favorite bird app now known as X its iconic name!


With the launch of Threads, it was clear that not much thought was given to its branding as it appeared with the hopes of filling in the vacuum created by the anti-twitter bandwagon. Without establishing a solid emotional connection to the targeted audience except the mutual hate for Elon that is, Threads couldn't hold a candle to Twitter's brand story.


TWO: Logo Choice & Design


When Twitter rolled out logo designs in 2012, the bird soon became a beloved part of the platform.

Jack Dorsey and the Twitter bird logo

At its inception, the bird came to life, embodying the essence of a tweet—swift and concise, echoing the chirps of a bird in flight.


To further solidify this, tweets were kept at a minimal 280 characters, no long paragraphs, just brief and straight to the


point. This was enough to cement the Twitter brand at the heart of its users.


When Zuckerberg’s spiral A- shaped Threads logo was placed side by side – it was a complete miss. Whatever Threads was meant to stand for fell through or to put quite literally, the threads got tangled.


THREE: Poor Brand Perception

Now Brand Perception is what customers believe a product or service represents and the emotions it evokes shaped by their expectations and experiences, not merely the company's claims.


By taking advantage of Elon’s massive rampage on Twitter, Zuckerberg’s release of the Thread’s app was seen as the social media Messiah.

A meme of Twitter vs. Threads

An app that would provide everything Twitter gave and maybe more but without Elon running things.


To the users, Twitter had long been their venting platform. People could call out anybody and have millions of people bonding together to force change to occur.


Many social and political events first gathered strength from Twitter and eventually dominated global news.


Twitter allowed people to know when their bus was late and yell at the bus service about it.


And that was exactly the perception the millions of users who flocked to Threads had. Turns out Zuckerberg wasn’t entirely trying to fill his competitor’s shoes.


Meta envisions Threads as a social hub for lifestyle brands and influencers, carving out a fresh section in its multiplatform arena. Its features greatly mirrored its parent app Instagram, a very unwelcome idea for users who wanted something different from the picturesque, exotic and flashy aesthetics Instagram was best known for.


It kinda sounds like having two Instagrams. (Lol)


Once users discovered to their dismay that what they believed to be the essence of Threads was different from what it actually was, traffic began to waltz downhill.


According to Wikipedia, third-party observers claim that the number of daily active users has dropped by 20% since the initial 5 days and that there has been a 50% reduction in user engagement. As at August 1, the average time spent on the app by its users dropped to an all-time low of under 3 minutes.


And now, it’s Elon’s turn to swoop in.

And he sure did!


With his latest X Ad revenue payout for its verified users, traffic is building up greatly at X’s headquarters.

Screenshot of Twitter Ad revenue payouts

Payouts have begun since midnight of August 7th for all creators with a blue checkmark and like always the internet has gone crazy with the news.


Some are even saying Twitter now known as X has become a full time job requiring only a minimum of $8 to cash out as much as $5000 - $10,000 depending on impressions.


But Elon doesn’t give stuff for free. There’s a catch and a brilliant one at that.


To qualify, verified users must have at least 15 million impressions over a span of three months. If this doesn’t stimulate users and creators to work their backs off on the platform, I don’t know what else will.


Like a true magician, X is now back to everyone’s lips and Elon has once again become a favorite, until the next crazy decision that is.


But did he survive Zuckerberg’s adrenaline inspired attempt to successfully replace him?

Is that even a question?


What about Zuckerberg’s attempt to become a competitor? Not even close.


Just maybe, another time with another app. For what we do know for facts is that right now, Twitter or rather X will be here for a long time and any platform trying to replace it might need to take classes from Elon.


Oh and if you joined the Threaders, here’s some tea for you. Zuckerberg ain’t letting you walk away for free. You’ll have to get rid of your Instagram before you’d be able to walk away from him.


Bonus reason why you wanna hold that thought before you sign up on the next trending app that comes your way.


However, this writer still believes there’s hope for Threads.


And that is taking it off the market so it can be properly fine-tuned and branded into what users truly want.


This writer truly hopes that this tussle between these two social media giants proves to be a lesson for all and any entrepreneur who reads this. Branding is key. And your consumers are king. If your product isn't solving a problem, you wont last long in the market not even if you're Mark Zuckerberg.




 

JB Favour is a Ghostwriter who gives voice to the most unreal life stories involving trauma, abuse, suspense and survival in form of Memoirs, Autobiographies & Thrillers. When she is not Ghostwriting, she is running her content, branding and marketing agency FAVES_PEN, where globally sustainable brands are empowered and amplified with content and strategies that place them as industry leaders in their given niches. She shares branding and marketing tips, news and trends on her agency's blog page and loves to write in a signature style that is bold and witty yet educative. She can be contacted via her LinkedIn or email.


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