What people are saying about Threads, the latest and biggest Twitter challenger

Twitter users have seen a lot of changes since Mr Musk appeared on the scene, many of which haven’t exactly been embraced with open arms. Some common complaints have included unwanted content appearing in timelines, the controversial blue tick policies (and multiple revisions of it), repeated outages because the technical teams that could fix things were no longer employed there after widescale redundancies, sudden removal of API access to the third parties that relied upon it for their business and, most recently, a limit on the number of tweets that users can view each day. 

Some Twitter users have voted with their feet, or at least hedged their bets, by opening accounts on other emerging platforms, such as Mastodon and Bluesky, and decreasing or stopping their Twitter activity. However, neither of these options are particularly user-friendly for those without a technical background. Perhaps this is where Threads comes in?

Threads, a text-based app by Meta, owners of Facebook and Instagram, was launched in 100 countries on 5/6th July 2023, and is designed to enable real-time composing and sharing of messages, either to a public or private audience, in a way that doesn’t seem a million miles away from Twitter. It is not currently available in the European Union. 

It’s early days for Threads, but they reported 10 million sign-ups in the first seven hours after launch. Indeed, the sign up process for the app is perhaps its greatest selling point in comparison to competitors. While you need an Instagram account to be able to use Threads, assuming that you have one, you are signed up in just seconds after downloading the app from Apple or Android app stores. You can even copy your bio and other details over from Instagram and choose to automatically follow everyone on Threads that you do on Insta with just a couple of tick boxes. Your usernames and verification (if you have it) will automatically carry over too. Simples!

Speaking about Threads, Instagram head of product, Adam Mosseri, said that Twitter’s “volatility” and “unpredictability” since Musk took over has created an opportunity for a new platform to rise up in a space that Twitter has dominated for some time. 

Quick overview of some differences between Threads and Twitter

  • Threads gives users 500 characters per post, rather than Twitter’s 280 (for the unverified).
  • Threads enables videos of up to 5 minutes in length to be posted, vs 20 seconds on Twitter (for the unverified).
  • Threads doesn’t have a home screen at present, just a feed to scroll through, whereas Twitter’s homepage shows trending topics and other suggestions.
  • Threads doesn’t currently have any ads, whereas Twitter is currently saturated with promoted content.
  • Threads can’t be used on desktop or within a browser currently, only on the app, whereas Twitter has both versions.

Usability and features-wise, Threads seems fairly basic at present in comparison to the firmly established Twitter, but it’s expected that increased functionality will be quickly added over the next weeks and months. While Threads doesn’t have ads incorporated into the platform currently, if there’s one thing that Meta do very well, it’s monetising their platforms. Therefore, it’s likely to be quickly followed by a way for brands to advertise on Threads, once the initial launch phase has passed. 

Mosseri himself has posted on Threads today (6th July 2023) to promise more is to come, saying: “The real test is not if we can build up a lot of hype, but if you all find enough value in the app to keep using it over time. And there are tons of basics that are missing: search, hashtags, a following feed… messaging maybe. We’re on it. The (amazing) team is cranking away. But full disclosure, it’ll take time.”

What the media are saying about Threads

The UK media are widely reporting on threads, so here’s a snapshot of their headlines.

  • BBC News say that Threads could cause real problems for Twitter
  • The Guardian says that Meta owner Mark Zuckerburg is using Threads to say that Twitter has missed its chance
  • The Daily Mail is focusing on the rivalry between Zuckerberg and Musk, but also got several tech experts to give their take on the new platform. 

Only time will tell if Threads is a Twitter-killer

At the time of writing, Threads has been available to the masses for less than 24 hours and the hype is significant. However, as Mosseri himself indicated, the true test isn’t about the launch, it’s about the longevity and whether Twitter users will not only join Threads, but stop using Twitter too. 

What does the launch of Threads mean for brands and businesses?

Taking the advertising angle out of things for now, as it’s simply not available for brands and businesses on Threads currently, should you be putting your business account on Threads? 

That depends who your target audience is and whether they are likely to use Threads. If so, then it’s a no-brainer. You need to be operating and communicating in the space where your audience hangs out. 

A note of caution, especially for businesses with an Instagram account that is important to the business, is that it currently doesn’t seem straightforward to close your Threads account without also losing your Instagram, as the two become linked when you join Threads. This may well change as the app develops, but is just something to bear in mind if you do create a brand account on Threads and then change your mind. 

If you want any assistance with your social media strategy or content (including posts for Threads) then get in touch with us to find out how we can support your business. 

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