Unless you were living under a rock mid-to-late summer of this year, you probably know that Meta unveiled Threads to facilitate more seamless communication and text sharing.
It’s essentially like Twitter, sans the Elon Musk circus going on in the background.
In fact, on the surface, it certainly has a Twitter-like feel, but it gets some brownie points for a better user experience featuring ease of use and privacy for your more private conversations.
Threads reportedly witnessed a staggering 30 million downloads within only 16 hours of its launch on July 5. The number of Threads users as of now is well past the 120 million mark.
According to Neil Patel, “People thought it was impressive how ChatGPT crossed 1 million users in five days… but Threads by Instagram blew everyone out of the water, and even Facebook didn’t expect it to do this well early on.”
After its initial meteoric rise, however, Threads witnessed a massive drop of 70% in July and 79% in August 2023. Average time spent on the app has also plummeted to 2.9 minutes a day (as of August 2023).
Many hail it as a fantastic alternative to Twitter, which has recently been in the news for all the wrong reasons, including multiple technical outages, revenue losses, and mass layoffs.
As someone who uses social media regularly, you might be wondering why you need to download another communication app, when you’re already using WhatsApp, Telegram, Instagram, and perhaps even Twitter.
And that’s truly a valid point since everyone has limited time and bandwidth to navigate multiple platforms on the regular.. Not to mention, even the most avid social media users need to have some boundaries in place.
So, before hitting the download button, it just might be worth taking a few minutes to learn more about the in’s and out’s of the platform, to make sure it’s truly worthy of your time.
Meta Threats: Instagram’s Best Friend
Since Instagram users must use their Instagram credentials to create a Threads account, both of these apps co-exist in the same complex social media ecosystem.
A verified Instagram user is automatically verified on Threads during account creation. Threads users can then seamlessly import their Instagram followers. The catch here is that users cannot delete their Threads account without deleting their Instagram account.
It’s either both… or nothing!
While Threads and Instagram are heavily tied together, Threads is more like Twitter. It facilitates real-time conversations with users sharing their thoughts, photos, and videos. Users can keep them private within a select group of users from Instagram’s close friends list.
Privacy is the main selling point of Threads, which was designed to serve as a dedicated space for trusted conversations.
Threads Features: What to Expect
While Threads is still a new kid on the block, it offers some impressive features that set it apart as a communication app:
- Quick follow to follow accounts in your feed by tapping the plus icon in the corner without navigating to their profiles
- Mute specific profiles by tapping the three-dot menu on posts for such Threads accounts
- Hide words and phrases from appearing in your feed by tapping Hidden words in the Privacy menu
- Use Reply controls to control who can engage with your posts
- Tap the Share button to share Threads to your Instagram Story or grid
- Send text messages privately to close friends directly within the app
- Generate automatic context-based status updates to share your current status without manually inputting it
- Customize your notification preferences to avoid unnecessary distractions
- Use easy shortcuts for a quick photo and video sharing
These features make Meta Threads a great choice for privacy-conscious users. For businesses, it offers the benefits of real-time updates, community-building, and public conversations.
Threads also emphasizes simplicity and ease of use for a high-value user experience and meaningful connections within a trusted group.
The First Step: Getting Started with Threads
Jumping on the Threads bandwagon may be worth your time if you are already a loyal Instagram user. The journey is pretty easy and intuitive, but for sake of simplicity, here’s a primer to get you started:
- Download Threads: Since Threads is available as a standalone app on both iOS and Android, you can search and download it from your app store in a few clicks.
- Log In to Instagram: Once you open the Threads app, you will be asked to log in to your Instagram account with your existing credentials. (Bottom line: You cannot create a Threads account without an Instagram account).
- Customize Your Settings: You can customize your settings and choose which of the Instagram close friends you want to connect with for intimate conversations.
- Manage Your Privacy Settings: Threads offers excellent privacy settings to control the visibility of your status updates and manage users who can see your content. Using them gives you the privacy advantage.
The App Culture on Threads
Besides garnering a massive user base within a short time, Threads has attracted plenty of brands, celebrities, and social media influencers, including Nike, Wendy’s, Netflix, Gordon Ramsey, and Jennifer Lopez. After all, it’s the “new kid on the block,” which means it’s cool and trendy.
Just keep in mind that there’s not a lot in the name of novelty when it comes to the Threads timeline.
Initially, most Threads revolved around popular tweets and people talking about the uncertainty of navigating a new app. There were also a lot of Threads about what Meta should do to enhance the end user experience.
As the newness has worn off, however, content more closely resembles the types of things you see on other social media platforms.
As of now, Threads seems to be struggling to maintain an active user base. It also falls short on engagement, which is likely attributable to the fact that it lacks cultural relevance and core communities. In fact, many celebrities and users are no longer regular with their posts.
Outside of this, some of the biggest drawbacks of Threads as it stands currently are as follows:
- Users cannot customize their feed with the current features. The main timeline continues to be a list of random Threads.
- It’s missing a direct messaging feature.
Where Is Threads Headed?
There’s a lot on the horizon, with Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, confirming upcoming features such as a desktop version, expanded search functionality, direct messaging, and hashtags.
What’s more, you can expect Threads to be a part of the fediverse in the future, which is decentralized social network infrastructure that will enable people to follow and interact with others on independent yet interconnected platforms.
The Road to Th-Readiness
Threads obviously hasn’t been around for long, which means that there is still a lot to be uncovered and demystified about the platform. Using the app now, however, will give you a head start over people embarking on the journey further down the road.
On the flip side, there are still a lot of questions and challenges current users can expect to deal with for the time being.
As the old saying goes, “only time will tell” what the future truly holds in store.
For the time being, it’s worth exploring. Just don’t get sucked into the rabbit hole.