What is Threads: Will it Stay or Will it Fray?

July 10th, 2023 by

There’s a new platform on the scene, and users have gone mad for it. Setting a new record of the most users joined in just over four days (over 100 million), it’s safe to say Threads, an Instagram app, has caused a big stir in the social world. But what is Threads?

What is Threads?

The simple answer to “what is Threads?” is: it’s Meta’s answer to Twitter. Confirmation for the Twitter-dupe came three months ago, and it was officially launched on 5th July. 

Threads is a free text-based conversation app that was designed to be an online space for communities to come together and discuss topics cared about  today, and what’s trending tomorrow. Users can connect with creators and others on a deeper level, directly building relationships and loyalty. 

Threads’ layout is similar to Twitter’s, with a few key elements currently missing. Users have their main feed which shows content from those they follow at the top, before showing related content they’ll enjoy—seemingly pulled from the verified accounts they follow on Instagram. Users can search for other accounts, create Threads, view activity, and their own profile page (which offers a direct link back to their Instagram account).

In terms of functionality, users can create threads (and post photos, videos, and links) and view replies, and like, comment, repost, quote, and share Threads created by other users. Symbols used are spectacularly similar to those on Twitter, so if you’re familiar with the good ole bird app, you’ll understand Threads. 

One key note is that any user on Threads can post a Thread with up to 500 characters, which is nearly double the 280 characters available on Twitter. 

What Threads is missing (at the moment), is a way to see what’s trending in thread conversations. Hashtags don’t appear to be functional on the platform at present, but we presume this will come with time given the importance of hashtags on Instagram. 

What is Threads’ appeal?

Given that Threads is essentially just another Twitter, why has it become so popular so quickly? 

There’s four main reasons why Threads is so hot right now. The first is because it was fuelled by Instagram’s massive pre-existing user base. When signing up, users had the option to link their Instagram and Threads follower lists, removing the major hassle of going through each account individually and deciding who to follow. Threads offers a new form of interaction with users, friends, creators and brands, offering more insight into their thoughts, opinions, and personalities. 

There is also seamless sharing between Instagram and Threads. As we already mentioned, users can combine their Threads and Instagram following, but Thread accounts are also linked on a users’ Instagram profile—although at present, it’s the number user you were when joining, rather than a handle. This link takes a user directly through to a Thread profile, and vice versa. In addition, users can easily share Threads to their own Instagram Stories, which creates a direct link to the Thread. This makes it incredibly easy for users on Instagram to experience Threads before creating an account, but also easy for users to discover new people to follow. 

The platform launch came at a tumultuous time for Twitter. Earlier in the week, Twitter had just introduced a new Tweet limit for all accounts in a bid to stop data mining. Verified accounts could view 8,000 tweets a day, unverified could view 800, and newly created unverified accounts could view 400. Naturally, users weren’t happy. While on Threads, users can’t quite search for trending conversations yet, they did have unlimited access to content on the platform. 

The final key reason it became popular is FOMO. No one likes being left out of the party or a joke, and that’s exactly what the first few days of Threads have been. A new platform means a new chance to make a statement and join in an exciting conversation. Brands and users that were first adopters would have benefited massively from the PR exposure, with Threads being shared on different platforms. 

What is Threads’ user base?

With over 100 million users, Threads’ user base is already huge. So huge, Zuckerberg himself said it went “way beyond our expectations.” 

Celebrities, political figureheads, creators, brands, shows, and casual users have already taken a place on the platform, and are creating and joining conversations. 

In order to have a Threads account, you need to have an Instagram account. When signing up, you can import all your information, including name, bio, and links from your Instagram profile. Annoyingly, if you want to delete your Threads account, at the moment, you have to delete your Instagram account too. 

What should your strategy be?

In reality, it’s far too early to distinguish a strategy. We don’t really know much about the platform, algorithm, or plans. 

For the moment, you should just play with the platform and see what resonates with your audience. 

Once more details on the algorithm and upcoming updates reveal themselves, then you can focus on developing a strategy that still resonates with Instagram audiences, but encourages more transparency and engagement. 

Is it here to stay?

There’s not been much revealed about what the future of the platform will look like, but we can make some educated guesses. 

We predict that Threads users will be able to access multiple accounts on a singular device, similar to the function that’s already present on Instagram. This will make social media managers’ lives significantly easier, and allow for more streamlined marketing. 

The second update we can visualise in three new main feeds that mirror Instagram’s. Currently, the for you is somewhat of a free for all, with those you follow shown at the top and the rest selected from those you follow on Instagram. We anticipate a Recommended feed, Following feed, and Favourites feed. 

The final update we expect soon is a trending news page. Adam Mosseri said he wants the platform to be a space where people can discuss what’s trending, but at the moment there’s no way to discover this. We expect the trending page to mirror Twitter’s—with a search function at the top, and trending topics listed below that direct users to the most popular and relevant Threads around said topic. 

As to whether Threads is here to stay, only time till well. Many platforms have opened sub-platforms only for them to be shut down (we all remember the BeReal sagas, right?). However, Threads does have a major advantage in drawing on its 2 billion monthly active worldwide users by allowing them to create accounts with their Instagram profiles. 

In addition to this, Meta extended early invites to popular businesses like Netflix to populate the platform before users joined. This meant users weren’t greeted with a tumbleweed crossing a desert. 

We think it has potential. The future will become more clear once the platform ties up a few loose threads in future updates.

Our influencer marketing agency and social agency are located worldwide, with our agency network based in the USA, UK, UAE and China.

If you want to find industry insights, visit our influencer marketing and social media blogs here.

@ Socially Powerful

Posted in Industry Trends, News, Social Media Platforms, Social Trends