Michael Calore: I call bullshit. You were all over social media.
Lauren Goode: No, I wasn’t.
Michael Calore: Yes, you were.
Lauren Goode: Was I? No.
Michael Calore: I followed your whole vacation by watching your stories on Instagram.
Lauren Goode: Oh, well. Yeah. A story here, a story there. But I was not spending any time on Twitter. It was almost like there was no news. Not at all. Nothing. I just fell into a black hole. There were no major Supreme Court decisions, no floods, no new social networks were announced. It was great.
Michael Calore: We should get caught up.
Lauren Goode: Why? Is there something I missed?
Michael Calore: I think one of those things in particular is something that we should talk about this week.
Lauren Goode: OK. Let’s do it.
[Gadget Lab intro theme music plays]
Lauren Goode: Hi, everyone. Welcome to Gadget Lab. I am Lauren Goode. I’m a senior writer at WIRED.
Michael Calore: And I am Michael Calore. I’m a senior editor at WIRED.
Lauren Goode: We’re joined this week by WIRED senior writer Kate Knibbs, who joins us from Chicago. Hey, Kate, it’s great to have you back on the show.
Kate Knibbs: Thanks so much for having me.
Lauren Goode: You are one of our favorite friends of the pod, I have to say. I’m speaking on behalf of me and Mike here, because I speak for both of us.
Kate Knibbs: I’m expecting you to make some merch to that point, friend of the pod, favorite friend of the pod. Anything really cementing that fact. My sweatshirt size, it’s medium. I’ll give you a few weeks to come up with a design, but yeah.
Lauren Goode: That sounds great.
Kate Knibbs: I love it.
Lauren Goode: That sounds great. Could we do maybe do a hashtag collab around that too, if you wear it on Instagram? But we’re going to put the Gadget Lab logo and your name on the back, so we need a 180-turnaround as part of the deal.
Kate Knibbs: I’m in.
Lauren Goode: All right. Well, that’s settled. We’re starting a merch business, folks. OK. Yeah, we need to talk about Threads. Threads, in case you were living under a rock the past two weeks, like I was, is Meta’s newest social app, and it takes direct aim at Elon Musk’s Twitter. Threads is linked to your Instagram account, so it makes signup pretty easy. But that also means it comes with the same data privacy concerns any Meta or Facebook site comes with. Will Threads become another platform for ads? Seems likely. But it’s also been a huge hit so far, I have to say. I found out about Threads because while I was on vacation, blissfully unaware of the news, I started getting text messages from television producers at the BBC and other shows, saying, “Can you come out and talk about Threads?” I said, “Oh no, I have to check the news, don’t I?” Lots of other people have been intrigued by it, too. Unlike other Twitter alternatives, like Mastodon and Bluesky, Threads has managed to gain over 100 million followers in just a week. The big question is, will this be the thing that finally replaces Twitter? Or at this point, are we all feeling the Twitter clone fatigue? We’re definitely going to get to that. But first, Kate, you’ve been writing about Threads for WIRED, and just to start, I was hoping you could describe Threads. What does it look and feel like?