If you haven’t been living under a rock, then you’ve likely heard about Threads, Meta’s brand-new social media app.
Touted as the “Twitter Killer“, Threads was launched on July 6th, just five days ago.
In only four days, it reached a mind-boggling 100 million sign-ups, including various celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Oprah, Jennifer Lopez, and Gordon Ramsay.
Here are the main highlights of Threads:
- It requires an Instagram account
- Posts can be up to 500 characters long
- Posts can include text, photos, links, and videos up to 5 minutes in length
- You can repost and quote posts on Threads
- Thread accounts can be private or public
- If you’re verified on Instagram, you’ll also be verified on Threads automatically
- Threads use the same username, password, and account name as your Instagram account
- You can import the accounts you follow on Instagram to Threads
- Threads is currently available in 100 countries and in over 30 languages
- Free to download
- You can’t delete your Threads account without deleting your Instagram account
- You can control who replies to your Thread or who mentions you in a Thread
Threads will be accessible to anyone with an Instagram account, whether you’re a content creator or a regular user.
Its main goal is to foster conversations, encourage you to share your interests, find like-minded individuals, and expand on your Instagram experience.
And expand it will because, currently, Instagram doesn’t do a stellar job at initiating public conversations between users.
Sure, there is a chat system in place where people can comment on posts. But it’s severely limited by the inability to start up conversations yourself.
Threads seem to be the missing link that will complete Instagram and give it a solid foothold in the social media ecosystem of today.
Is Threads a Twitter Copy?
One thing is clear from the very beginning – Twitter seems to have been a source of inspiration for Threads. Here are several similarities between the two:
- The homepages look eerily similar: you see posts from other people and posts from pages they follow
- Posts have options for liking, reply, sharing, and reposting
- You can refresh the feed to see new posts
- The notification will show a maximum of three pages and profiles that have been posted recently
- You can mute, unfollow or hide a page someone follows
- You can anonymously report posts
- Posts have a character limit
- The bottom portion of the app lets you search for profiles, visit the homepage, write a thread, and look at the activity
You may notice that many of these similarities are just… features that a social media app should have, implemented one way or another.
It’s no secret that allowing users to like, reply, share, and repost a post leads to more engagement. So, it’s only natural that you should include these features.
How about the differences between the two? Read below:
- Threads show a horizontal scroll unlike Twitter’s tile format
- Images will only take up 1/3 of the screen, so there is no need to zoom in on them
- “Tweets” and “Replies” are called “Threads” and “Replies“
- Threads let you scroll through posts endlessly, unlike Twitter which limits the number of posts you can see
- No ads on Threads
- No direct messaging on Threads
- You can’t use Threads on the web. Only through the app
Meta calls Threads “a new, separate space for real-time updates and public conversations” but when you look at it at face value, it does look a bit like Twitter.
But let’s be honest. Unless Meta literally ripped off Twitter’s appearance, features, and system, it’s unlikely that they’ll get in legal trouble over Threads.
After all, Twitter doesn’t have dominion over messaging-type apps.
Personally, I think there are enough differences between the two so that Threads is its own app. But you have to admire Zuckerberg’s genius move.
Threads Couldn’t Have Come at a Better Time
Zuckerberg has once said that Threads was created with the idea of rivaling Twitter – “It’ll take some time, but I think there should be a public conversations app with 1 billion+ people on it. Twitter has had the opportunity but hasn’t nailed it. Hopefully we will.“
So, there it is. Open admittance that Threads is a direct competitor to Twitter. It was even designed to replace it, one way or another.
Furthermore, Threads came at the perfect time to deliver a killing blow to Twitter, in my view. Just think about it:
- Twitter is currently in full-blown chaos thanks to Musk’s leadership
- There was a recent CEO change at the helm of Twitter
- Musk introduced Twitter Blue, which drove off users and advertisers in bulk
- He unbanned controversial figures like Kanye West, only to ban them again afterward
- He keeps posting random ramblings that scare off advertisers
- He recently imposed a limit on the number of posts Twitter users can see
- Twitter is no longer accessible to those without an account
- Twitter is knee-deep in debt and nearing bankruptcy
If there ever was a good time to replace Twitter, now would be that time. It’s utterly impossible that Threads’ release at this time was a coincidence.
In spite of all this, Linda Yaccarino, Twitter’s new CEO, tweeted on Thursday that “We’re often imitated – but the Twitter community can never be duplicated.“
But does Threads really want to duplicate Twitter’s community? Unlikely, since Meta already has an audience of its own. Plus, Threads is a companion app to Instagram, so it already has a solid user base there.
What will happen is that Instagram users will have their experience improved a hundredfold by the addition of Threads. And this may convince some Twitter users to jump the boat for the whole Instagram + Threads experience.
But that won’t happen now. Not with Threads in its current state. As I said, the app doesn’t support direct messaging, and it also doesn’t have hashtag functionality or a solid search function.
You also can’t edit posts once they go public, there are no trending topics, and there’s no desktop version. Meta has a lot of work on its hands if it wants to scale Threads above Twitter.
Adam Mosseri has said that the team is working hard to provide all of these features and more, so the future looks good for the up-and-coming platform.
We’ll wait and see how things develop and as always, stay tuned to Whizcase for up-to-date social media analyses!