The hyped and highly promoted new part of the Meta Family of social media platforms was launched yesterday to most Instagram users. As the chief resident nerd of all things social media, of course I signed up. Here are my impressions. I hope this helps you decide if it’s worth your time and energy to get on Threads or not, and with everything social media related, mileage may vary according to your usage and your community.
What is “Threads”?
Per the Meta Newsroom post on 5 July 2023:
- “Threads is a new app, built by the Instagram team, for sharing text updates and joining public conversations.
- “You log in using your Instagram account and posts can be up to 500 characters long and include links, photos, and videos up to 5 minutes in length.
- “We’re working to soon make Threads compatible with the open, interoperable social networks that we believe can shape the future of the internet.”
You can access it through your Instagram account settings, or go to the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. It is currently only a mobile application, and you must have an Instagram account. There are no hashtags nor ads currently.
Here’s another useful article from Forbes: “No Hashtags, No Chronological Timeline And Mobile Only: How Meta’s ‘Threads’ Differs From Twitter” by Siladitya Ray, Forbes Staff. At the end of the article are linked three additional articles if you want to learn more.
It asked me who I wanted to follow and then showed me all the celebrities and people I do not want to follow. There was no way to remove them from my feed. I find it frustrating that my home feed includes people and topics I have no interest in, nor did I follow – I double and triple checked. It allows blocking and muting feeds, but there should be an option to see everything/discovery or only who you follow.
I don’t want another way to communicate with the same people. I like being on multiple platforms because I can create DIFFERENT communities and can get more eyes on posts which leads to more followers and leads, not the same people seeing the same thing in a different way. If it’s the same crowd on Instagram and Threads, I don’t see the point, unless you have a preference for one format over another. It makes more sense to me to simply have a threads option within the Instagram platform. I’m not excited about posting to and checking on another platform, especially if it’s a redundant community.
Threads is being touted as a replacement for Twitter. I don’t think so. Those who were disenfranchised with Twitter already left, most to Mastodon within the Fediverse. If Threads’ objective (as stated in its signup info) is to eventually join the Fediverse and take its users there, why bother? Just skip Meta/Threads and join the Fediverse already. I have a presence on Twitter and the Fediverse, and felt like Threads was a weak imitation of the two. And there is also Bluesky, for those with an invitation.
If you are on Mastodon and want to say hi or follow me there (although I don’t visit often, but maybe this will motivate more activity from me 🤔) my link is https://mastodon.social/@KMMcClatchy.
I spent hours getting a feel for Threads, and concluded the hype wasn’t worth what was presented. I deactivated my account within three hours. But, Adam Mosseri mentioned in his next post that they were unprepared for the over 10 million downloads that first day, and were frantically working to get the bugs out. I went back and downloaded the app again and reactivated it. It does seem to be working smoother. After 24 hours, I’m still not a fan, for many of the reasons outlined above, and a few more.
I’m on Threads as @kathrynmcclatchy. Install the app to follow my threads and replies. Let me know what you think of this new platform, or if you have any questions. https://www.threads.net/@kathrynmcclatchy
HOWEVER, something Instagram is doing that I think deserves a lot more attention is the new Broadcast Channel feature and tabs. In his weekly update Reel three weeks ago, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri, gave us the rundown on these new features which have since rolled out world wide. For those who want to build relationships with their fans and followers, this is a great new tool. Sadly it’s only available for those who have a “Creator” account, not those of us with personal or business accounts.
As always, please know you do not have to be on every platform, and being an early adopter is not always beneficial. Make your primary platform the one you most enjoy being on, and the one that feels most intuitive to you. Then add a platform, preferably owned by a different company, where you think your ideal readers, customers, or clients are spending their time. If you have the bandwidth for another platform, add one that is also home to the people you want to reach, but different demographics, psychographics, or mode of communication from the other two.
I’m happy to help with strategy, or to audit your online presence. I’m running a summer special on those audits if you are interested. Here’s the link for more information: Online Presence & Brand Positioning Audit.
PS: On a slightly different topic… I’m following a number of court cases regarding AI, Intellectual Property, and Copyright law. It appears, at least for the time being, that the onus of proving our originality, or how much and for what purpose we use AI in our content, will be upon us. As I wrote in a previous post, I do use AI as a tool. To be fully transparent, I intend to document how, when, what, and how much AI I use.
This post, for better or worse, is all me and no AI collaboration was used.