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Threads, an Instagram app… The “Where are They Now” Special

By: Rachael Seda

Brunnette young woman looking down at cell phone

On July 6, 2023, Meta launched its new social media platform called Threads. As we all know by now, Threads is a text-based social networking app designed for sharing posts and updates, sharing striking similarities to Twitter (or are we calling it X now?).

Unlike the visually-focused platforms we are used to, Threads focuses on text and written conversation, similar to what you would experience in your group chats or text threads with friends. 

How does it work? 

Well for starters, you’ll need an Instagram account to sign up. Once you’ve downloaded the app separately, it will plug in the same name and username that you have on Instagram. You are then given the option to write a bio, add a link, and a profile photo or to import everything from Instagram.

Next, you choose whether to keep your account public or private and whether you would like to follow everyone you’re currently following on Instagram. From there, you can start posting threads! You are able to mention users in your threads, directly reply to posts, and repost content from other users.

Any downsides?

While the platform is a less-restrictive alternative to Twitter, it does come with a few drawbacks like privacy and algorithmic impacts. Additionally, the platform is only available in 100 countries, excluding the EU, which poses accessibility issues.

Another potential drawback could arise for businesses that often find themselves resolving customer service issues via social media. Joining Threads creates another social platform for consumer feedback; this includes the good, the bad, and the ugly!

For the time being, Meta has decided to keep ads off the platform, which could be challenging for brands that lack a distinct personality. However, this is likely to change in the future. Right now, Threads seems more about authentic connections with target audiences rather than driving sales and revenue from a brand and business perspective.

How is it different from Instagram and Facebook?
As mentioned, Threads is text-focused, so while you can include photos and videos, they won’t display in the same way as Instagram and Facebook. Instead, they’ll appear as hyperlinks, redirecting users to the original content.

How does it differ from Twitter? 

The release of Threads couldn’t have come at a better time, considering Twitter’s recent limitations on post viewability. Elon Musk made the change, disabling tweet viewability for those who do not have an account and restricting unverified accounts to 600 posts a day (6,000 posts per day for verified accounts, and 300 posts for new unverified accounts). 

Threads also seems to be more casual than Twitter. There is no direct messaging, hashtag system, or editing function. It truly is a giant public conversation which is what creator Mark Zuckerberg envisioned for the app. Lastly, the most obvious difference is that Threads allows for longer posts, up to 500 characters, breaking Twitter’s 280-character limit.

Flop or Success?

Since its launch in July, Threads’ relationship status with its users can be labeled as “it’s complicated”. According to SimilarWeb, app usage has dropped 79% in just one month. The platform has gone from 2.3 million active users to a measly 576,000. Time spent on the app is also down by 85%. Has the app run its course during its five minutes of fame, or has the hype train died down for good?

There is still so much to learn and unpack about Threads, and we’re excited to see what this new app brings to the social media world. It’s no secret that Twitter has depleted in popularity in the past few years so Threads could be a game-changer for those seeking the functionality Twitter once offered.

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