Thread-y, Set, Go? Should you use the newest Twitter alternative?
The latest social media platform has dropped, and it’s taking the world by storm. So it seems, anyway.
It’s called Threads, is owned by Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta and is the newest sibling of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. It’s the latest rival to Twitter and it could be Elon Musk’s trickiest competitor to date.
Is this new platform a ‘must-have’? Should you use it in the government or corporate world? What about your personal use? There are plenty of pros and cons for each argument. Let’s break them down.
What is Threads?
Threads is classified as a ‘micro-blogging’ social media platform. Development began in January 2023 as competition to Twitter, owned by Elon Musk. At the time of writing, Twitter has its problems, and they’ve been heavily addressed elsewhere. We won’t dive into those here, other than mention the fact that Threads could be Twitter’s biggest competition to date.
The Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, has been quoted in media saying,
“Twitter pioneered the space… but given everything that was going on we thought there was an opportunity to build something that was open and something that was good for the community”.
Twitter’s popularity is waning, and Meta have struck while the iron is hot. Threads flew out of the blocks. Within two hours of launch, Threads had over two million sign ups in 100 countries. Four hours after launching that number jumped to five million.
How does it work?
If you’ve used Twitter before you’ll understand Threads. Both platforms are for users to share opinions, thoughts, photos, videos, memes, and interactions. Visually, the two are similar as well, but there’s a change in wording (for obvious reasons). Posts are called threads and shares are called reposts. Posts are capped at 500 characters, 220 more than Twitter’s maximum for unpaid users.
Can I sell my product, business, brand, or advertisements?
Sell your business and brand? Yes. Sell your products or advertisements? Not yet. Advertisement spaces will likely arrive at some point but that doesn’t mean you can’t sell your business today. It’s recommended you use this platform to maintain the brand you want to be associated with.
Your audience is coming from Instagram. They already know who you are so don’t push out a ‘welcome to my Threads’ post. Create content they’re used to seeing like photos, videos and graphics. Provide your followers with the content that made them follow you in the first place. The one question to ask yourself though is what style and voice will you use? Do you keep it consistent with Instagram, or is this the time for a new one?
1. Beat Your Competitors
This platform is in its infancy. It’s the perfect opportunity to create an account and establish yourself before your competitors do. Get in now on the ground floor so by the time your rivals do the same, you’re already near the penthouse. But that’s easier said than done. Creating an account doesn’t beat them, creating content does. Develop your brand with clever and meaningful posts, photos and videos (more on how to build your brand online here). It will take time before Threads has an identity and its genre is known. Trial and error are guaranteed for users on this app. After a few days in operation it’s being described as a TikTok vibe for engagement with words and images instead of video.
2. Familiarity With Twitter
Threads feels the same as Twitter. It looks eerily like the bird brand as well, which is kind of the point. Meta have kept the things that Twitter perfected, because if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right? But what Zuckerberg’s team has altered is some of the scrutinised features of its predecessor. Reading caps don’t exist on Threads (yet, anyway. Who knows what the future holds at Meta) while a new and unverified Twitter account is limited to reading 500 tweets a day.
3. Appropriate Moderation
Expect Meta’s moderation team to heavily review content as their newest product finds its feet. Meta will want to set the standard of what they deem appropriate on their new platform. Inappropriate content won’t creep through the cracks like it has with Twitter since Musk took over. This means the opening weeks and months on Threads should be friendly and appropriate if you have kids, or occasionally peruse your socials at work.
1. Privacy Concerns
This is the biggest sticking pointt. Meta has a track record of looking at user data. We shouldn’t forget Mark Zuckerberg testified before US Congress about a data sharing scandal in 2018. The privacy concerns are so large that European users can’t use it. The EU’s Digital Markets Act is delaying the launch. You have every right to be nervous about another social media platform recording your personal data. Threads is addressing these issues by being a decentralised app, meaning user data isn’t stored on centralised servers. But that isn’t enough to convince the EU just yet. And it probably won’t be enough for current Instagram users who are on the fence about joining the latest trend.
2. Unknown Future
Threads is new and not a single person can predict how it will perform in a month, a year, or a decade. If social media is seen as the ‘Devil’, Twitter is the one we know, and Threads is the one we don’t. Currently there are no ads on the platform but that will change in the future. Meta is using the strategy of moving an audience across and then introduce products and advertisements.
3. No Instagram = No Threads
A Threads user can only sign up via Instagram. Joining from Instagram only takes about five taps of the phone but if you don’t have an Insta account or don’t want one, then Threads is not an option. In a similar vein, desktop users are excluded. While it is possible to use Threads on your PC or Mac, its going to be a nuisance. This app is designed for a smartphone. It’s possible to view Threads on a desktop, but you can’t view your timeline or log in.
4. Missing Parts
Threads has a few notable omissions. Hashtags, a following feed and direct messaging are all absent, just to name a few. Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, posted a thread himself to address this and said these features are coming but, in his words, “it’ll take time”.
So, should I use it?
If you want a yes or a no… Yes, use it. In the opinion of this writer the pros outweigh the cons, and with the sheer enormity of people flocking to the platform already it’s worthwhile trying to be seen on it
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