Up for Discussion: Threads feat. Aaron Murray Vazquez - Ep. 73

Parish Hayes
September 14, 2023
Updated Feb 09, 2024

In this special episode of Negronis with Nord, guest host Parish Hayes, Creative Strategist, sits down with our very own editor Aaron Murray Vazquez to talk Threads.

At first self-acclaimed Threads hopefuls, these two dig into what needs to change to make Threads a sustainable platform (especially for ex-Twitter users); how brands should show up; and what sponsored content might look like.

Below is a portion of the episode transcript for your reading pleasure. Make sure to subscribe to the Fohr YouTube channel to get notified of new episodes, and watch the full episode below.

Parish Hayes: I'm back. Welcome to Negronis with Nord. I am Parish, a Strategist here at Fohr. Welcome to Episode 73. On this episode, we're going to be talking about Threads with a special guest, Aaron Murray Vazquez, who is an amazing filmmaker, Threads and social-obsessed photographer, and an amazing person all around.

He does have some differing opinions from our fearless leader, James. But so we're going to bring them on to talk about it and to really get into the nitty-gritty of Threads.

Why Threads?

Parish Hayes: We're going to be talking about Threads. And I want to say this is something that I was excited about and something that you kind of pitched so hard for us to talk about it. Why Threads?

Aaron Murray Vazquez: Twitter was my favorite platform, like, since it's been around -- even more than Instagram, even more than Tumblr, which was where James and I found each other.

It was really tough to walk away from Twitter like a year ago when Elon came around. I equated it to like, you're in this mall, and there are all these cool things, there's Hot Topic, there's Abercrombie, there's the food court where everyone hangs around, and then like overnight, every store becomes like Elon.

And then all of your friends couldn't stop talking about Elon, and I was just kind of like, "I don't really want to be here. I'm gonna, like, get out of it."

I tried to find other places that could do micro-blogging well, and I went to Reddit for a little bit. I remember when Beyoncé dropped her album going on Twitter—I think it was on Christmas Day. Being on Twitter that day was like one of the best days because you were just like everyone else; you could see the timeline, listen to every song, and it was really cool to be part of that experience.

There weren't any other platforms that did that until Threads came around. And I tried finding all these things and I was like, "Finally," because it was so easy to import; you know, if I had 100K followers, which I don't, but if I had it, I could get at least 10,000 followers on this new thing instead of having to tell everyone, "Hey, come, come on, I'm on TikTok, but come on over to my Etsy store," like, who's going to do that or come over to my Substack?

Instagram has that ability to just, not only are you getting all of these followers, but for me, some of my favorite people who I was following on Instagram, they're doing their Stories and now they're Threading things that are funnier than I thought they would be.

P: You can hear their voice—or read their voice.

A: Some people you see them on Instagram, and they're very polished and they're very nice and they have to sell these things. But then you see them at the function and they're really loose. They have great jokes and they're not as uptight as they seem on there. Not uptight, but like they're not as polished and then like they started bringing that to threads and I was like, "Oh man, this dude is way funnier than I thought here in a place that I can understand then on Instagram."

And I would hear James talk about it, and James has a following on Twitter. And so, like, to me, that's really hard. It was really, it's really hard for the people that have put all of their eggs into the Twitter basket to have this sort of happen to them. And so, like, I know it's hard for James to sort of walk away from that size following on anything.

I mean, he still brings up his Tumblr fame. Every episode. It's hard to walk away from that, but I didn't have that kind of following. But I had, felt like I had cultivated this great, you know, basketball Twitter, uh, bachelorette Twitter. I had like poured it onto all these things and like it was hard to walk away.

Yeah, it was a community, you know. It was an ability to gather around. And it's hard to walk away from and it's nice to have. This thing come back and I was very excited for it because it just felt like the old friend kind of thing.

Twitter vs. Threads

P: Yeah, we said before I myself am also someone who loves Twitter (or, I wouldn't say love now, obviously with the changes that have come to it) but I still use it or whatever you want to call it and I say like me and my, like, 80 followers that have followed me literally from high school to now, we're, like, locked in, like, it's kind of like close friends, they know my crazy thoughts and everything, where I don't have to feel like the polished version of myself, and it does have, like, my feed has, like, that community where it's, like, all topics that I want to hear about it, whether it's funny or something that's going on in, like, the news or music or whatever the case may be, and it's amazing. And I was excited about Thread because of that as well, because I think Instagram's algorithm got so great.

Like, it's like to the point where I will get fed, not even ads, but I'll get fed content on my feed that looks like something I already follow and then I just stop and I'm looking at it. It says follow at the top. I'm like, I might as well. I love this. So I thought that [00:08:00] algorithm putting into, you know, a, like, mini blog or, like, micro-blog form would be absolutely amazing.

Like, I was so excited about it. I wrote a blog about it, about how excited I was, and I was like, Twitter's, like, Twitter's gone. Sorry, like, I am a Threads boy now. Like, I was so excited. That excitement, like, it went away for a while, I think. I still think it has, like, potential. But I think that it was rushed a little bit.

It's just a lot happening that's still, I feel like I'm kind of in a testing phase. Like I'm a hamster in a wheel, in a way.

Threads is still lacking community

A: A hundred percent. A hundred percent agree with you. Especially with, you know, top to bottom. The algorithm, I find stuff like, not only, it's just like, micro precision of what I want to buy and what I want to follow.

I'm like, this is great stuff. Sometimes I think about like all of the things that like Meta has sort of like copied and they do always kind of rush it out. Like the, you know, it's still kind of annoying that you can only put like 90 seconds on reels. Whereas like TikTok is now like you can do like 10 minutes.

There's a lot more. Options on TikTok than it does, you know, they did like the be real, you know, the real time or I don't know what it was called, but they, they initially just like, we'll throw stuff at something that's popular of their own version. And it is very, it is very bare bones. And I agree with you that this, this, this does feel still very beta.

I knew that they pushed it because of how quickly things were deteriorating over on X. A hundred percent. I also am like watching them, you know, Oh, now here's the thing we want to do. We want to make it into, uh, put it on desktops so that people can do it. We're not as interested in the news side because we aren't, we don't want to do that.

Like, to me, I'm like, okay, this is probably going to mean more advertising, but... I honestly don't care, like, I feel like that's, like, I feel like a lot of times people get upset with advertising when, Yeah, that's how a lot of things are paid for, is like, ads, you know, like, I also really appreciate, [00:10:00] yeah, I also really appreciate a great ad, and I really appreciate, like, a great influencer that's able to sort of take something from a company, and then kind of like, mix it in with what they want to do, and put it back out there into the world that, it connects with me.


But I do agree with you, like, it doesn't have hashtags, and it doesn't have topics and the community aspect building part of it is really tough to do. Whereas, like you, you can see the importance of that on TikTok, where if you were to just do hashtag FYP that has like, you know, trillions of views.

Yeah. So, like, yeah, the hashtags are really important to like build community because they're just sort of like a tent pole. Like, we will circle around this for the time being.

P: Do you think that's intentional though? As far as like them not allowing hashtags just now? Because, again, meta has such a great way of putting you into a community and, like, the algorithm kind of knows what you're thinking, [00:11:00] not thinking, but like knows what you're interested in, knows what type of content or type of topics that you want to be served.

So, maybe that was their way of saying we don't need hashtags to serve this to you. We don't even need hashtags to get you content that you love.

A: I mean, that's a pretty good point. I mean, maybe they're just interested in seeing what people are talking about at first and then seeing where it goes from there.

P: How they can organically reach certain people based on certain topics, interests, and so forth, because I will say, like, even my threads feed, if I go on it, like, it is very much like it makes sense even like the like kind of more outlandish stuff. It's still outlandish from accounts that like I would want to engage with that I didn't realize the hashtag piece but it seems because that's such an easy way of connecting people and just just so ready to go. And it's funny because I was just talking about that today, this morning, about like the first ad that was on Threads.

It doesn't say hashtag ad and I personally didn't realize that hashtags were not on the platform. So it makes sense why hashtag ad is not there. And so I wonder if their decision to not allow hashtags, but also quote unquote saying that they don't allow sponsored content yet on the platform. Like, are they kind of like, I don't know, do you get what I'm saying?

A: Yeah, I get what you're saying. I think that that's actually really a really smart observation because it could be like we don't know if this thing, we don't know what this is going to be yet. And then we can begin like putting advertising money behind it. And also like to build the infrastructure of it. Like it does seem like it's an entirely separate apparatus. And when you bring in advertisers, they're going to want to see, you know, all of the like bells and whistles of the data and the stats. And by the time that happens, I think that like, you know, what's left of, you know, any other microblogging platform will have moved over to [00:13:00] Threads. It will be a much healthier environment for advertising.

Without communities, usage rates are low

P: It's an interesting point that you said that once they figure that out, you're thinking that the micro-blogging and other platforms like people would kind of transfer over to Threads. I mean, seeing now that Threads has declined by 79%, from 49.3 million daily active users around the world on July 7th, which is just two days after its launch, to only 10.3 million. That's huge.

Comparatively, Instagram has 500 million daily active users, TikTok has 50 million in the U.S., and Twitter has 237.8 million daily. Even after its branding to X, for it to go from 49.3 million to 10.3 in just a month is kind of wild to me.

A: The ability to rally around community is the biggest thing. Like, unless you know exactly where to go, you know, you can't really find people that you agree with or are talking with you.

Like I have been dying to talk about, uh, the Bachelorette finale on, on something that's not Reddit or Discord because like, I like the idea of just being able to see stuff as it's happening. You know? And one of the things that I think that I felt really became something that sort of like lit. Uh, Threads on Fire was Trump's mugshot.

Like, I feel like when that mugshot came out, it, the, my entire feed just, like, came alive. Like, everybody was talking about it. And so, like, talking about it, joking, memes, and, like, it was, like, feel, it felt like, you know, being on Twitter.

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