Russell: Threads gives us the opportunity to reshape social media

Jul 7, 2023, 8:11 AM | Updated: 10:45 am

threads social media...

This photo, taken in New York on Wednesday, July 5, 2023, show the logo for Meta's new app Threads, left, and that of Twitter. Meta is poised to unveil the new app that appears to mimic Twitter — a direct challenge to the social media platform owned by Elon Musk. A listing for the Threads app appeared on Apple's App Store, indicating it would debut as early as Thursday. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

I have to admit I’m a sucker for new beginnings. When I first heard about Meta’s new app, Threads, which is supposed to be an alternative to Twitter, I thought, “This is great, another social media platform I need to learn and another way for me to go in this never-ending rabbit hole and lose track of time.”

But thinking a bit more about the situation, I actually saw an opportunity. You see, the last time I went on Twitter, it was during the search for the submersible OceanGate.

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Now, call me naïve, but I was flabbergasted at what I saw people saying online. At the time, five people were still unaccounted for and we didn’t know their fate. People were making jokes, condemning their desire to go that deep into the ocean to see a shipwreck, commenting that it’s the foolishness of people with money who are bored.

Now I’m not going to lie, I have no desire at all to go to the depths of the ocean and no desire to see the Titanic, and I have no idea why anyone else would want to. But exploration is part of our DNA. It’s why we have some of the conveniences we enjoy.

Now, before I go further, I want to be clear, it is fair game to judge how a person conducts their exploration and their business, especially when it impacts other people in our environment. But on social media, it seemed that the focus was less on that process and more on, “Why are you there in the first place?”

Imagine if we all judged one another’s interests and passions. Think about that. What you think is cool, I might think, is pretty weird, and vice versa.

And truly, our history is full of people who are determined to do what had never been done. Let’s go back to Orville and Wilbur Wright. They began studying birds so that they could figure out how to fly. And people had their suspicions and their criticisms just like they do now, a few years into their development process.

Wilbur Wright would take people on rides, and one reporter, Richard Harding Davis, initially didn’t have much interest. But then, once he was in the air, he apparently had an epiphany.

Davis said, “I begin to understand why young men with apparently everything to make them happy on Earth persist in leaving by means of aeroplanes. What lures them is the call of a new world waiting to be conquered, the sense of power of detachment from everything humdrum or even human. The thrill that makes all the other sensations stale. And the exhilaration that, for the moment, makes each one of them a king.”

Whatever this feeling, I’m glad they pursued it.

You know, air travel is how we’re able to connect with people all over the world, whether in service, celebration, or support of someone we care about.

And look, I have no idea where ocean exploration is going, but here’s what I do know: we should always hold people accountable for practicing reasonable care and due diligence.

As journalists, it’s our responsibility to call out shoddy safety practices and warnings that were ignored in lawsuits. That must happen with OceanGate, and the public should engage in that too.

But judging how people want to experience the world could stifle the very next thing that we need.

Oh goodness, I realized I went down a rabbit hole. I’m sorry. I was talking about social media and the new platform, and I do have a point. You see, Threads is this new opportunity for us to start again to make a commitment to old-school values and a high-tech world.

Just because you think it doesn’t mean you need to post it because often, we do need to think again. And if you decide to go down a rabbit hole or create one, perhaps we make sure we come out with something worth talking about or something that, like wine, ages well and manages to bring out the best in us.

That world is one I’d be interested in exploring.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5-9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Russell: Threads gives us the opportunity to reshape social media