Will Wright, creator of the incredibly popular SimCity, Sims and the slightly less popular Spore franchises, is back with something new and completely different, a social networking app. The Thred app for iOS is a slideshow builder with options to add stickers, filters, words and even external links to images. The finished "threds" can be shared in-app and to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. If you're in need of additional images, you can search for images in-app to add to your visual story.
To build those stories, the app has a few nice touches to make the process simple. When you're building your own thred you can either scour your photo roll for images or take the simpler route and use the in-app calendar to select images from a date. From there it's just a matter of adding a sticker and maybe some text to each photo to help you tell a story. When manipulating your photos, the first couple of image filters are pretty much like every other image filter in every other photo app. But then the filters take a hard left turn onto Cheesy Filter Avenue with effects that attempt to make images resemble comics and sketches. They're bad and you should do your best to avoid them at all cost.
Besides horrible filters, another weird issue is how difficult it is to add friends. Yes it's a social app, but even though you can create an account with Facebook login, you have to manually search for friends. It doesn't auto-populate the add friends section with your Facebook friends that use the app. You can invite friends via email. But who checks their email for app invites? And more importantly, what sort of monster invites friends to an app via email?
Friend-adding weirdness aside, building and sharing a thred is fun because the app doesn't try to throw too many features at you like fine tuning an image or adjusting the kerning of a font. With a few taps you can share your trip to Hawaii or show everyone how to correctly cook a steak. Adding the ability to add links to images could be the feature that makes the app the darling of social media professionals and photographers. An image with a link is way better than a static image that offers zero calls to action. But mostly, people will probably use it to create comics of their cats.