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A new social media platform and Twitter alternative from Meta Platforms Inc. made an early debut Wednesday night. The app is called Threads and is linked to users’ Instagram accounts.

A description in the app store notes that Threads is a “text-based conversation app” where “communities come together.” Reports originally had the so-called “Twitter killer” making its debut sometime Thursday.

More than 10 million users signed up in its first seven hours, according to an Associated Press report. The new platform adds yet another tool to senior care and living operators’ marketing tool bag. It is also seen as another means of communication among providers, their current and prospective residents, and affiliated family members and stakeholders.

Social media platforms are a key marketing tool for senior living communities. In a 2017 report from the Conversation Research Institute, data showed that consumers use social media channels to discuss senior living options, though community websites and search engines had the most impact during the decision-making process.

Post-pandemic, there was a rise of older “granfluencers” on social media, although older adults themselves use Facebook and YouTube far more than other platforms, McKnight’s Senior Living previously reported.

“Generally, there are not a ton of seniors on Twitter,” said Courtney Malengo, the founder of strategic consultancy Spark + Buzz Communications. “Facebook is still their predominant platform.”

One study from just before the pandemic showed that 40% of adults aged 65 or more years use at least one social media site and almost one fourth of baby boomers use social media to look up information on brands or products. 

For senior living communities and partner companies such as vendors, Twitter can be useful to communicate company news or reach out to the media, Malengo said, adding that in senior living, an organization’s Twitter followers often are those with a connection such as a friend or family member within the company.

Threads comes following a number of changes to Twitter’s platform, including a requirement that only verified users can use the TweetDeck tool.

Although Twitter’s new subscription-based options have constituted a major change to the platform, paying social media companies for advertising services is not a new phenomenon.

Threads has yet to prove itself as a platform, its connection to Instagram may foster easy adoption for organizations, Malengo said.

While many view Threads as a potential replacement option for Twitter others view the newcomer’s emergence more as simply an additive to the social media potpourri currently available. No major power shift from the firmly established Twitter to Threads should be expected any time soon — if ever — noted Andy Crestodina, co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Orbit Media Studios, an award-winning web design and development company.

“The battle continues. It’s not surprising that Facebook would try to replace Twitter now. It might work,” he said, in an email to McKnight’s. He’s the author of the popular Orbit Blog, which offers tips for content marketing, analytics and web design and has spoken at numerous senior care and living conferences. “If they can pull it off, they can use their existing ad-targeting tech. But it’s really hard to imagine all of those Twitter users moving over.”