The battle for dominance in the social media space has intensified with the emergence of two new contenders: Spill and Threads. As traditional social media giants like Twitter face growing scrutiny and user dissatisfaction, these newcomers are vying for the spotlight.
Ian Kimble, a software engineer and co-founder of Black Tech Philly, weighed in on this new frontier in social media during an interview with Reality Check’s Tonya Pendleton.
Spill, a Black-owned app, has gained attention for its mission to foster a safe and inclusive space for communities across Philadelphia and beyond. Founded by former Twitter engineers Alfonso Turrell and DeVaris Brown, Spill seeks to redefine the social media experience for marginalized groups. “Spill is more than just a new app; it’s a grassroots movement,” Kimble said. “It caters to people who have been disenfranchised and aims to create a community space.”
Spill is invite-only, which allowed the founders to curate a user base committed to its values. While there have been discussions about the app’s exclusivity, it highlights the importance of creating spaces that reflect the experiences of marginalized communities.
Threads, owned by Meta (formerly Facebook) is another new app in the social media arena. Meta’s move to challenge Twitter’s supremacy came amid growing user frustration with the platform, especially after Elon Musk took over its operations and gutted its workforce. Kimble emphasized the significance of Threads reaching 100 million registered users within a short span. “Threads leveraged its integration with Instagram and Facebook, which gave it an instant user base advantage,” Kimble said.
Spill and Threads represent two distinct approaches to social media. Spill aims to create a nurturing environment for underserved communities, while Threads seeks to leverage its integration with existing platforms to capture a broader audience.
Kimble acknowledged the complexities surrounding Spill’s inclusivity and the challenges of retaining a predominantly Black user base in the face of inevitable diversification. “It’s a balancing act,” he said, “between creating an inclusive space and allowing organic growth.”
The dynamics in the social media landscape have been further complicated by Twitter’s recent shifts under the leadership of Elon Musk. Musk’s acquisition of Twitter raised eyebrows, and his introduction of a tweet limit for users drew their ire.
“Twitter’s changes, driven by Elon Musk, created a window of opportunity for competitors like Threads to challenge its dominance,” Kimble explained. Users’ resistance to paid subscription features and concerns about the platform’s direction led to a sense of urgency.
As Spill and Threads gain traction, the battle for the future of social media intensifies. Twitter’s resilience and unique role as a news outlet mean it won’t be easily dethroned. However, the meteoric rise of Threads and Spill’s mission to empower marginalized communities proves that the landscape is dynamic and unpredictable.