Making Connections Online Through the Latest Social Trend

washingtonpost-eaglehaslanded-manonthemoon.png

Humans as a whole love information. They love learning intricate details about any given topic, whether it’s understanding quantum mechanics, or uncovering Kim Kardashian’s latest bronzer name. Whether we think so or not, we want to be inundated with information. Learning new ideas, skills and concepts keeps us healthy, allow us to grow as individuals, and grants us the ability to gain a better understanding of the world- it also allows us to connect with others.

As much as we love learning new information, the process to acquire it can be a bit daunting or quite the bore- it’s not for everyone. We live in an age where instant gratification is a swipe away, and our happy hormones spike at the mere thought of a phone notification. From this, people have found loopholes that let the sharing of information be easy and convenient.

As long as you have an internet connection, you’ve undoubtedly seen a meme or two. They’re a great example of information (and content!) that’s easy to access, share, and digest. They let people connect over a common feeling or guilty pleasure. Aside from memes, the latest social trend sweeping the internet is the use of threads.

A thread is a series of posts all linked together by a common theme or purpose. They usually are a small blurb of text, sometimes accompanied by a photo or gif. These threads are created on various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram- they tend to explain topics ranging from how to get clearer healthy skin, to combating systematic oppression/racism/sexism, etc.

Threads fist took off on Twitter. To work around the previous 140-character limit — which often left people struggling to fit their whole thought in one tweet — users started creating threaded responses to share intimate, gut-wrenching or even educational information. Twitter took notice of this trend and followed by first increasing their character limit to 280, and later confirming the integration of the tweetstorm feature. Soon after, other social media platforms followed, and we we now see threads everywhere.

There is an interesting and dynamic cross-platform approach when it comes to threads. More often than not, you will find posts initially made on Twitter are later shared to Instagram. There are even singular posts that are shared on Twitter, when they were originally made on Vine or Tumblr.

quite-funny-meme.png

These threads have amplified the culture of easy-to-consume information and easy-to-share/access content. They’re short, to the point and easy to follow- some are very similar to WikiHow tutorials. It’s much easier to read a ten-tweet thread on Twitter, than it is to read an editorial piece on the Wall Street Journal or the New Yorker. People want the highlight points yesterday- they couldn’t care less about the fluff in between. Plus, threads are on all the platforms people use right now and address ideas they may otherwise not have thought of- why should people bother googling something they read online?

 Maughan Library

Maughan Library

There is so much information we can consume, that people don’t feel the compulsion to verify what they’re reading. Because of this, online posts, memes and threads are taken at face value without any type of validation. This is often how rumours spread online, and can cause an array of real-life consequences. Whether it’s your favourite blogger or life coach posting something online, it’s important to always validate what you’re reading, especially if it seems too good to be true. And try to fight your natural urges to believe the unbelievable.

With such an overload of information people consume on a daily basis, it makes sense that people want to mindlessly scroll down their feed. Threads are an incredible way to relay information in a short, conscience and easy way (not to mention aesthetically appealing). Their recent success comes from our innate desire to consume information, but without over-burdening ourselves with information. This trend has been on the rise since 2015 and it won’t be slowing down anytime soon.