It’s been almost a week since the launch of Instagram Threads, Meta’s new social network that competes directly with Elon Musk’s Twitter. And this is not the first time that Instagram has made a kind of “clone” of other social networks, right? Keep in mind that Stories and Reels were created to reproduce Snapchat and TikTok features respectively.
Threads arrive amidst a moment of crisis in Twitter’s relationship with its users, as the company has been limiting some features, especially for those who are using the free version. The company justifies these actions in an attempt to stop massive data collection by referencing AI companies. In early July Elon Musk himself tweeted some of these “temporary” limitations.
The fact is user frustrations can lead them to look for alternatives, opening doors for Mastodon, Bluesky, and now, for the “Meta” version of this format, named Threads.
Twitter x Threads: similarities and differences
To begin with, when testing Threads, I can say that I felt quite familiar. That’s because its layout and main features are basically identical to those of its competitor, Twitter.
Of course, with different feature buttons “texts”. For example: “New thread” instead of “Tweet”, to include a new post, as well as “Repost” in place of “Retweet”. But, in general, it’s pretty much the same.
It’s also easy to share your “Thread” in Instagram Stories, due to the integration of the two networks, which is not big news, since Twitter users were already able to share their Tweets on Instagram.
Related to features, to be honest, I don’t think there are many differences between them. But one thing that Instagram highlighted as an important difference is that Threads is a decentralized social media.
Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, explained in this NYT podcast that Thread as well as Mastodon, is built on ActivityPub, an open protocol. That means eventually, in the future, it will be possible for different social networks built on ActivityPub to work with each other, and could also allow users to export their contacts to another platform, giving more autonomy to content creators.
This is a great philosophy change, but we’ll need to wait to see how it’ll work.
How does Threads work?
Your Threads profile is created from your Instagram credentials. Starting the procedure, there is an option to import your Instagram profile information and also automatically follow your entire network. This means as soon as the user chooses this option, a connection invitation is automatically sent to all their contacts, which I believe is a strong benefit to content creators that won’t need to start their positioning from zero.
On the other hand, as a mere user, this could be inconvenient. Considering that you may have a different purpose for Threads and want to make different connections there, maybe you feel a certain discomfort in ignoring the invitations and could even feel obliged to follow them back.
And what if I want to delete my Threads profile? Well, that’s something that has irritated some users. As it is integrated with Instagram, the account becomes combined, so to delete Threads, you’ll need to delete both. (OMG!) But don’t worry! You can still deactivate your Threads profile and hide it, keeping your profile active on Instagram.
What are the opportunities for brands on Threads?
Zuck’s new social network has already hit 100 million users according to his Thread. In only the first 16 hours, Instagram’s new app was downloaded more than 30 million times.
Scrolling through the timeline for the first time, most of the threads available to me were from influencers and brands that I used to follow on Instagram. Maybe because I’ve chosen not to automatically follow my Instagram contacts, having a very small network in the beginning, there is a strong possibility they used Instagram data to understand what could be relevant to me.
But, after five days of accepting invitations, and having some of mine accepted, I can see threads from these people all the time.
I suppose that you want to know about Ads and when it will be available in the new app. In the same NYT podcast that I mentioned before, Adam Mosseri said “I don’t want to mislead anyone. We believe in ads. We think they are a way to offer free service worldwide. We think it’s a good thing. But right now, it’s just not the focus at all for the app. I think that would be the definition of a champagne problem.” He also explains that the focus is to make something that people love and want to keep using over time.
Until then, as we can see on Twitter, I believe brands will stick to the same strategy with quick posts that attract comments and shares, making reach grow quickly and easily. On Twitter, it is common to see brands also talking in a fun way, attracting even more interaction from followers. I don’t see this working any differently on Threads.