In It’s Not Cancel Culture—It’s A Platform Failure Charlie Warzel reminds us about “context collapse”:
Context collapse occurs when a surfeit of different audiences occupy the same space, and a piece of information intended for one audience finds its way to another—usually an uncharitable one—which then reads said information in the worst possible faith.
We’ve probably all experienced this to some degree—you say something and it gets misunderstood or misconstrued (sometimes understandably!) by an audience that doesn’t have all the context. Anne Helen Petersen uses that concept to explain why The Thread Vibes Are Off:
Twitter was for thoughts, and Instagram is for vibes—and Threads is trying to pull your Instagram feed into a Twitter format. And I’m here to tell you: THE VIBES ARE OFF. […]
What’s happening early on with Threads is that influencers are experiencing their own kind of context collapse, where their vague, sometimes vapid messages are traveling toward a different type of audience. This is pretty much what Threads feels like to me now: a place that’s ostensibly interesting (look, so many people are already here!) but is actually totally boring. It’s “fun,” but definitely not funny.
I imagine Threads will get a lot more usable once the team introduces a following-only feed. But for now, it really is super weird on there. I had no idea there were so many celebrities in the world. I mute constantly, but they just keep popping up!