Threads, the social media platform that recently gained 100 million users in just five days, is now experiencing a significant drop in daily active users. Since its launch, engagement on Threads has plummeted by 80%. This decline comes despite the efforts of Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who announced the implementation of “retention hooks” to keep users on the platform. Threads’ trajectory is indicative of a pattern seen in many social media platforms — rapid growth followed by user burnout.
The Illusion of Connectivity
For far too long, social media platforms have operated under the assumption that connectivity can provide the same level of fulfillment as genuine human connection. However, this flawed hypothesis has led to an epidemic of loneliness in our society. As a result, users have grown disillusioned with platforms like Threads, craving true and meaningful connections rather than a superficial sense of connectivity.
Social media’s relentless pursuit of connectivity has failed to address the fundamental human need for genuine connection, leading to a loneliness epidemic.
The Golden Days of Social Media
In their early days, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram promised to create a more connected world. They captivated users with the idea of effortlessly bridging geographical barriers and reconnecting with old friends. However, over time, these platforms shifted their focus towards revenue generation and expanding their user base, prioritizing consumption and content over human connection.
The Loneliness Epidemic
Social media’s impact on our communal well-being has been well-documented. The U.S. Surgeon General has declared loneliness and isolation a public health issue, with nearly half of U.S. adults reporting measurable levels of loneliness. Digital environments, including social media platforms, have contributed significantly to this epidemic. The instant gratification of checking in on others’ lives has only intensified anxiety and feelings of social exclusion.
A Hard Reset for Genuine Connection
The solution to the loneliness epidemic lies in a hard reset of our approach to social media. Instead of using these platforms as substitutes for real connection, we must prioritize in-person interactions and genuine community-building. Social media can still play a vital role in connecting people and empowering communities, but only if we shift our focus from isolation to empathy, from tribalism to inclusive global identities.
By reimagining social media as a tool for fostering genuine connection rather than superficial connectivity, we can address the loneliness epidemic and provide users with a truly fulfilling platform.