Threads: what we know so far

Jul 19th, 2023

As (potentially) expected, Meta’s “Threads” has grown in record time, launched earlier than expected on Wednesday 5th July. The latest social app quickly rushed to 30 million sign-ups within 24 hours of release, rising to 50 million just hours later, then 70 million in less than two days.

Threads is offered in roughly 100 countries and 30 languages.

To answer this question, I must first look at what it isn’t: Twitter. At an initial glance, it may appear to be a carbon copy of Twitter however, I think what has made it so successful early on is that it’s what Twitter should be. A simple and authentic text-based sharing app, a place where even hashtags don’t work.

Meta states:

Threads offers a new, separate space for real-time updates and public conversations. We are working toward making Threads compatible with the open, interoperable social networks that we believe can shape the future of the internet.

Many of the basic elements of Threads are similar to those of the Twitter user interface. For instance, both use similar symbols allowing users to “like” other users’ content, both provide the ability to repost, and so on.

The similarities are one of the reasons Twitter has threatened to sue Threads over alleged theft of trade secrets.

In the wake of user dissatisfaction with Twitter, Threads has come to the rescue for those looking for primarily text-based interactions through micro-blogging. Elon Musk may have thought he had a monopoly over the ‘micro-blogging’ platform but Mark Zuckerberg’s launch of Threads has become its only rival.

It is no coincidence that the timing couldn’t be better for the new kid on the social-block, with Twitter coming apart at the seams. Since Musk’s takeover, Twitter’s ad revenue has plummeted by over 50 per cent .

The BBC reported:

Twitter is struggling under a heavy debt load. Cash flow remains negative, Mr Musk said at the weekend, although the billionaire did not put a time frame on the 50% drop in ad revenue.

Is Threads the final nail in the coffin for Twitter? We’ll keep an eye on things as they develop. The Twitter VS Threads feud will inevitably continue for some time.

In a recent update, however, it seems that Threads might have been a (very) quick fad, with user engagement dropping by almost 20% over two days (July 11th & 12th). Perhaps the microblogging platform needs to offer something slightly more enticing than “we don’t have Musk!”.

To access the new app, users must first have an Instagram account to be able to login and share posts. With a character limit of up to 500 characters, users aren’t limited by just text but can share links, photos, and videos (of up to 5 minutes long).

As Threads is linked directly to an Instagram account, users can opt-in to follow the same accounts that they already follow on IG.

Meta said:

Our vision with Threads is to take what Instagram does best and expand that to text, creating a positive and creative space to express your ideas.

Everyone who is under 16 (or under 18 in certain countries) will have defaulted into a private profile when they join Threads.

We’ve written before on the importance of harnessing social platforms as part of your digital strategy, and keeping up-to-date with the latest trends is just as important as a solid social calendar.

We recommend you create a Threads account and claim your business name there. Even though we’re still in the early days of Threads, bear in mind that you cannot delete your account without first deleting your Instagram account.

When setting up your Threads account, your username, name, bio, profile photo, and the verification mark (if you have one) will carry over to your Threads account, plus other settings, like a block list.

Note: You can still customise your profile to make it unique to Threads.

While we’re still getting to grips with the new platform, its accessibility and UX seems to be pretty good for the initial release.

The intention with Threads is to build a positive space for a social community, so we recommend creating discussions with your followers rather than posting your usual content. I think the tone of voice for Threads will differ greatly from Twitter, and even Meta apps.

Keep interactions and engagement up, and you’ll create a community of brand advocates in no time!

Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri doesn’t want to replace Twitter but to embrace communities that never really connected with Tweeting, see Thread (can we introduce ‘Stitch’?) left:

The focus of Threads seems to be a channel for light entertainment rather than a platform for political views and hard news, which is certainly refreshing!

Moreover, it will be interesting to see engagement metrics on Threads. Historically a strong emotion elicits a response to promote virality online, and while a joyful reaction to the ‘light entertainment’ found on Threads could be enough for positive engagement statistics it is often negative reactions (such as anger) that elicit more response. Outlets looking to generate more attention through negative responses/ sentiments could explain at least part of the reason why the media landscape has become so divisive and partisan.

The intention is pure, but the execution? Watch this space…

Threads also does not currently have ads, but it’s likely that the platform will adopt advertisements as a way of supplementing Meta’s advertising business, a core source of revenue.

In addition to the above, Threads will be compatible with ActivityPub, the open social networking protocol established by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the body responsible for the open standards that power the modern web. This would make Threads interoperable with other apps that also support the ActivityPub protocol, such as Mastodon and WordPress – allowing new types of connections that are simply not possible on most of today’s social apps.

Our Social Media experts will keep you updated with the latest on Threads

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