What is Threads? The New Rival to Twitter
While there are 5 million early adopters of the new app, Threads is still the new kid on the block and it's exciting social media managers everywhere. Considering the app has only been available for the best part of the past 9 hours (at the time of writing) we cannot be fully sure of how it works but algorithms aside, it is worth exploring what I believe will be a crucial new aspect of digital strategies. With Twitter's recent bad press, will Threads become the new meeting place for likeminded communities online?
What is it?
It would help if I explain what Threads is and why it came around. Owned by Meta (the parent company of Facebook and Instagram), Threads has been launched as a direct competitor to Twitter. Similar to its inspiration, the app allows users to post text, images and videos in short micro-blog style updates. You are able to reply to other posts, repost to your profile and like content, and as Threads is paired with Instagram, users can also share content to their Instagram Stories, or even their feed. Possibly controversially, content can be shared as a Tweet, I can't help but wonder how Elon Musk will think about that.
Talking of Twitter's CEO, there is a lot of talk that Threads was launched in order to give people a version of Twitter that they enjoy using again. In recent months, Twitter has changed beyond recognition with paid verification options, changes to the feed's algorithm and supposed mistreatment of staff. A lot of keen Twitter users have been looking for an alternative to the microblogging platform, and it seems that Meta have jumped in at exactly the right time.
Is it worth joining yet?
It's always beneficial being an early adopter of a new platform, however, the usual benefit of grabbing a simple username early on is quashed as each profile needs to be linked to an existing Instagram profile. Username aside, with 5 million users already on the platform, it doesn't feel empty like Mastodon and Be Real did at the start. There are plenty of people to talk to and network with even if you don't follow anyone - my feed was stacked from the moment I created my account making it easy to chat and get involved without needing to learn to navigate the app and find the people I know. Of course, you get the option to follow everyone you already do on Instagram but a fresh start might be what some organisations need.
Obviously, the app is in its early stages but it feels robust and reliable with no discernible glitches. I was able to post, follow others and respond to content just as I would on a well established platform; it's clear that Threads has been tested rigorously. My only grumble is that some features seem to be missing that social media managers may find useful (or even crucial). Unlike Twitter, there is no tab to find out what is trending in your area or even globally. I do feel like this omission may make it difficult to find relevant conversations to join and will put more of an emphasis on making the algorithm work for you in the first few weeks. It also feels slightly tricky to find the right people to follow, but I am hoping this gets easier the longer we use the platform and get used to keywords in bios rather than joining larger scale conversations.
What do I think?
There have been a lot of platforms trying to recreate the glory days of early Twitter since Elon Musk took over in April 2022, but none have been able to grab the attention of enough users for it to take off. With Meta's backing, Threads could be the app to take the place Twitter once had in our hearts with a few tweaks.
I have enjoyed getting to know the platform this morning and migrating over from Twitter. Threads certainly has the same addictive qualities as Twitter and I can already feel myself losing my weekend to building a network and figuring out the platform so I can start to talk to clients about building a profile. I think Threads is here to stay and will become a part of daily life for social media managers and the general public within a short space of time.
The huge level of signups within the first few hours doesn't feel like a passing phase and we will all be talking about when Threads took over from Twitter in years to come.