So it has been roughly a week since Mark Zuckerberg launched the Threads App. The new app from Meta was launched as a competitor to Twitter, and received over five million sign-ups in its first four hours, making it the most rapidly downloaded app ever.
It is described as a text-based conversation app that is designed to be a space “where communities come together to discuss everything from the topics you care about today to what’ll be trending tomorrow”.
So let’s get the basics out of the way…how does Threads work?
In order to sign up to the Threads app you will need an Instagram account. Once you have signed up you can choose to follow the same people you follow on Instagram, if they have the Threads app, and you can also discover new accounts. This does mean that if you don’t have a significant Instagram following, you might struggle to get your follower numbers up to start with.
One feature that many users of the new Threads app weren’t too pleased to discover was that if you download the app, but then decide you want to delete your account, you cannot do this without deleting your Instagram account, as well. This is important to note, particularly if you are wanting to download the app as a research exercise.
How similar is the Threads app to Twitter?
There are some obvious similarities to Twitter, such as:
It is a text-based news feed that enables photo and video.
The classic heart-shaped symbols allow users to ‘like’ content.
Users can re-post content (although instead of being called a retweet, it is called a repost)
However, there are differences that sets the Threads app apart:
Thread lengths are 500 characters compared to Twitter’s 280 character threshold (unless you are verified on Twitter in which case the word count limit is 25,000 characters per post).
Threads doesn’t have a desktop app, meaning you can only access it from a smartphone or tablet.
Threads doesn’t support GIFs or direct messages.
Threads has launched without ads which is a significant detail, particularly for businesses to note.
You can only search for other accounts on Threads, you cannot search for topics. It also means there are no trending topics.
The Threads app does not utilise hashtags which was a key feature noted by those operating in the digital marketing space, as this has significant impacts on social media SEO and searchability.
What are my thoughts?
As a social media expert (and a member of Gen-Z), I was straight on the app to discover what it had to offer…
Initial thoughts on the Threads app were similar to many others; ‘this seems very similar to Twitter…’ but as time went on I saw a significant difference in the type of content on my feed. It felt like more of a safe community with people being much more free and chatty with what they were posting (I am sure as time goes on and further functionalities are developed, this will change).
Another thing I couldn’t help but think was about the kind of community I was finding on the app. Instagram has done an amazing job of branding itself a creative platform for people to share visual content on. Threads being a text-based app does mean that the community cultivated on Instagram might not translate well. However, time will tell…
I was keen to see how people were discussing different topics (I really wanted to catch up on the latest at Wimbledon if I’m being completely honest) but was disappointed to find that the search bar only allowed you to search for other accounts, and not for trending topics. I think this is a significant detail business should consider when deciding whether or not to take the plunge into the Threads app and whether Threads marketing will be a useful tool in the weeks/months to come.
The overriding thought I had was that it is very early days and, although the app feels very basic and surface-level at the moment, I cannot help but think this is only the start. You only have to look at what Meta has done with their other platforms to consider the possibilities the Threads app holds. I for one am excited to see where Zuckerberg and co will take it and will be keeping my toe dipped into the app.
If you want to have a chat about the new Threads app, how you can get ahead of the game with your Threads marketing strategy, or anything else social media, get in touch!
Oh, and if you’re on the Threads app, go give us a follow: @signifydigital