Why Threads suddenly became popular in Taiwan

However, the popularity of Threads declined after its release in July 2023. In Taiwan, as in the rest of the world, many users left the platform after their initial interest.

But Taiwan’s 2024 presidential election offered another opportunity. Wang, who studies sociology in Taiwan, followed the rise of the second platform until November last year, starting with supporters of Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which is often associated with the green color. “Many (concerned) green activists saw that their political grievances were raised to more readers on Threads than any other social media (especially Facebook and Instagram), so more and more green activists flocked to Threads and used it as an advocacy tool,” he says.

The election ended in mid-January, when the DPP candidate, Lai Ching-te, was elected President of Taiwan. Many of his party supporters remained on the platform. And as it gained popularity, some politicians started their own Threads accounts and started posting more frequently, trying to join the conversation. Everyday users who are not interested in politics are back.

Almost every day for the past three months, Threads has been the most downloaded app on the Internet in Taiwan’s Apple and Android stores, according to Sensor Tower, an app store intelligence firm. It surpassed all Western and popular platforms in China.

What does Taiwan Threads look like?

Wang, who has been posting actively on Threads and has amassed 3,000 followers, says there are two main types of Threads users in Taiwan today: green voters, and young students who are still in middle school and high school. He said: “In the past few weeks, there has been a lot of discussion about how to choose colleges, higher education, and even universities.

Since Threads does not have a Chinese name, Taiwanese users have tried to translate it in creative ways. Others stay close to the meaning and call it 串 or if, meaning a string of beads or other items (can also mean a kebab skewer). Some call it 脆 or which, meaning crispy or not crispy. It is an attempt at translation that many consider to be too far-fetched, but since there is no such word as “th” in Mandarin, it is the best way, and it has already caught on among users and surpassed other names.

What defines the content on Threads is the mix of politics and lifestyle. On the one hand, some of the most popular accounts are Taiwanese politicians at all levels, including presidential candidates. On the other hand, users of Threads have received a type of content called 廢文—a cross between trash talk and simple words.

As a result, in order to get followers on Threads, the best way is to mix the important and the irrelevant. A local representative suddenly became famous when people discovered that his son was handsome. Joking about how this son has outlived his own, the politician now calls himself “Phoenix Cheng’s son’s father” on Threads, where he has 268,000 followers.

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