When Sophie, a 13-year-old in Arizona, began eighth grade last year, she wanted to start things off on the right foot. Instead of picking up the latest issue of Teen Vogue or googling around for advice, she reached for her phone and followed a slew of “thread” accounts on Instagram.
And what the heck are they?
These accounts provide her, and the thousands of other teens and tweens who have become addicted to them, with a daily feed of highly digestible information about how to tackle acne, become more popular at school, deal with fake friends, get a boyfriend, keep your grades up, and more.
It's really encouraging to see that people are figuring out ways to "hack" platforms like Instagram, with its reputation for [psychological damage], to create something potentially positive.
It's also interesting to note that most of the creators are older than the readers — there's something we could learn from this, I think. Innovation — and new formats — are still developing out there. We need to remind ourselves that there's plenty of scope left for experimentation and engagement with new audiences beyond the formats that the platforms are trying to ram down our gullets (I'm looking at you, Facebook Watch.)