Just when you thought there were already enough social media platforms, Meta has released “Threads, An Instagram App.”
Meta (also known as Facebook), recently unveiled its latest offering, a new social media platform named Threads. Dubbed as a rival to Twitter, Threads logged an impressive five million sign-ups in its first four hours of operation. This phenomenal response indicates not only the hype and excitement surrounding this new platform, but also how Meta intends to shape the future of social networking.
Safe to say, Musk is sweating about the future of Twitter albeit, comfortably in a Tesla.
Threads VS. Twitter
Officially released July, 6th 2023, Meta has jumped at the chance to offer an alternative to Twitter as many users flee the Tweets due to the controversial decisions made by owner Elon Musk. Musk hasn’t been the most popular billionaire, from initially laying off half of the company, his decisions regarding content moderation and verification, limitations on tweets that can be viewed and more questionable choices for the app… many Twitter users were searching for an alternative… and here it is!
What is “Threads”?
To put it simply, Threads is an app built to share with text. Yes, just like Twitter.
The conversation-focused app has been released in over 100 countries, targeting creators, businesses and casual posters. Connect with friends over text (up to 500 characters long – nearly double the limit set by Twitter), photos, links and videos (up to 5 minutes in length).
Although the resemblance to Twitter is close to identical, Threads is not just a mere replica. The app has been built on top of Instagram, one of Meta’s most popular platforms, and requires an Instagram account for sign-in. This strategic move makes sign-in quick and easy and provides Threads with a potential audience of billions who already use Instagram.
So, what’s the difference? Threads and Twitter
You might be wondering what’s the point of downloading another app when it looks like Threads is just another text-based app owned by another billionaire. Well, if we’re honest with you, we’re wondering the same thing. But, as digital marketers there’s definitely a few features that have caught our attention. Here’s the main differences between Threads and Twitter:
1. Linked with Instagram
Probably the biggest advantage on Threads’ side is the app’s linkage with Instagram. With 2.35 billion active users on Instagram, users can easily import their Instagram bio and profile into a Threads account. This is going to make the sign-up process one of the easiest processes available for a social media platform.
2. Tweets are now “threads”
The platform’s design is visually similar to Twitter, however, certain terminologies have been altered – tweets are now called “threads” and retweets have been relabelled as “reposts.” It might take a while for us to change our lingo, but hey, we’ll give it a shot!
3. Character limit
Threads provides a 500-character limit per post, while unverified Twitter users have a limit of 280 characters. Twitter offers a paid feature for $8 per month, which not only verifies the user with a blue badge but also increases the character limit to 25,000. Meta, on the other hand, automatically gives verified Instagram accounts the ‘blue badge’ on Threads.
4. Video Posts
Threads users (including unverified ones) can post videos up to five minutes long. In contrast, on Twitter, those without a blue badge are limited to videos of two minutes and 20 seconds.
5. Home Feed
On Twitter, the homepage allows users to view trending topics and other items of interest. For Threads, users explore the content by scrolling through the home feed.
As of its launch, Threads did not seem to have an option to save drafts of posts, which is a feature present in Twitter.
7. Threading Experience
The process of starting a thread is different between the two platforms. On Threads, a user has to hit enter three times to start a thread. On Twitter, this can be done by clicking on the plus button.
8. Viewing Likes
Threads has not provided an option to view others’ likes, which Twitter offers as a separate tab.
9. Content Rules and Blocking Controls
Threads adheres to the same content rules as Instagram and also shares Instagram’s controls for muting and blocking harassing accounts.
Threads is built on the same ActivityPub social-networking protocol as Mastodon and other decentralised social-media apps, allowing for wider community interaction beyond Instagram.
Threads was launched without any ads to increase user excitement and adoption, which contrasts with Twitter’s advertising-based revenue model.
Getting started on Threads
To join Threads, follow these easy steps:
- Users need to download the Threads app for iOS or Android and sign in using their Instagram account.
- Users can then choose to follow the same accounts they follow on Instagram if they too have joined Threads. Importantly, a user’s existing Instagram followers don’t automatically follow them on Threads – they’ll need to build up their audience from scratch.
- Update your profile and bio.
- Search for profiles using the magnifying glass.
- Start tweeting! Oops, we mean “threading”!
Threads: more than just a Twitter clone
Despite the visual similarities and text-focused approach, Threads is more than just a Twitter clone. Threads has been designed as a “new, separate space for real-time updates and public conversations” with the goal to take the strengths of Instagram and extend them to text-based content. The new platform also plans to support ActivityPub, a technology that underpins other social networks and allows for interoperability, enabling Threads users to take their accounts and followers to other ActivityPub-supported apps.
Meta has positioned Threads as an application for public conversations, envisioning mini-communities with their own community standards and moderation policies. Furthermore, unlike its counterpart Twitter, Threads does not have a separate direct messaging function, a hashtag or trending-topics function at launch, and there’s no way to edit threads once they’ve been posted. Or at least, not currently.
Threads has also taken significant strides toward child safety. For users under 18 in the UK, Meta is defaulting every Threads user to a private profile that can only be viewed by people the user approves.
What’s next for Threads?
The launch of Threads comes amid ongoing changes and controversies at Twitter. Meta hopes that this new platform will fill a gap in the social media landscape and become a major hub for online conversations. It’s still early days for Threads, but its integration with Instagram, coupled with the resources and backing of Meta, could help the platform take on its competitors.
However, it’s worth noting that Threads has launched into an already crowded marketplace for Twitter alternatives, such as Hive, Bluesky, and Mastodon. The question remains whether Threads can carve out a unique space for itself in this highly competitive domain. But, with its early success and the powerhouse of Meta behind it, Threads is a platform to watch in the coming months.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on Threads to see how the app develops.