The Loose Threads of Threads, Meta’s New Social Media Platform

Cozine/Shutterstock Remix by Caterina Cox
Analysis

Since Elon Musk decided he wanted to buy his way into becoming Twitter’s main character, users have been looking for an alternative. Jack Dorsey’s BlueSky is quaint but requires an invite (which I still don’t have), and Spill still has a massive waitlist to get through.

So when Meta decided to stealth-drop Twitter-alternative Threads on Wednesday, its take on the endless wall of doom scrollable content, many online hoped they finally had their out from the bluebird. The vibes on Threads are fresh — my feed is full of people introducing themselves, not sure if they should be their Twitter or Instagram selves. I’ve already found posts sharing the secret recipe for McDonald’s Sweet and Sour Sauce, random thoughts from Shaquille O’Neal, and chicken tender stealing roommate drama.

According to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, there have been 30 million sign-ups in just a day. It’s still in its infancy and can be expected to get better over time. But, some key features relevant to creators are not available on Threads. Here’s our breakdown of everything you need to know.

Some Promising Features

Threads has a lot of the same functionality as Twitter, just with a slightly different user experience. You are given a feed full of “threads,” which aren’t tweets but look and feel similar. 

Much like on Twitter, you can repost or quote a thread to share your quirky take or just add a heart to like it. The control of the feed itself does feel very nice, with lots of high-quality pictures being posted, which is perfect for creators.

One of Threads’ most promising features is the ability to import your followers from Instagram. Creators that have built a following on Meta’s picture app start with a baseline of people that already vibe with their content. The worst part about being an online creative is growing your following, but on Threads, you get to build on what you’ve already made (unless you are like me and have your Instagram private for a decade). 

The Loose Threads

But to get Threads out the door, it was clear that Meta had to cut a few corners. It’s lacking a desktop app, direct messages, a searchable feed, and trending topics. It also has no advertising or sponsorship options, so you can’t make any money off the app yet.

Twitter has all these options, even allowing Twitter Blue users to make money off user subscriptions and ads shown on tweets. Meta’s other products, Facebook and Instagram, also have in-depth monetization options for content posted on those platforms. 

The content you are fed on Threads is entirely up to the app’s algorithm, which you have little control over. It doesn’t matter who you follow or what you click on, you’ll get a seemingly random swill of content fed directly into your field of view. Brands you’ve never interacted with are suddenly appearing gleeful that they are on this new app and your feed. 

In addition, data security concerns are emerging surrounding the app. It will not be launched in the European Union due to privacy concerns related to the app collecting user data on information like employment status, race, sexual orientation, health, and other sensitive information (Although, to be fair, Twitter also collects most of that information, excluding health).

Concerning, users also noticed they cannot delete their accounts without deleting their Instagram too. Meta views Threads as an “extension” of your Instagram, not a different platform entirely. So if you want to make an account, be sure you don’t mind keeping it around.

A Hopeful, Musk-Free Future

Some of these missing features are in the works. According to Instagram head Adam Mosseri, a home feed that adds posts from people you follow, the ability to edit posts, a translation option, and the ability to switch between accounts are “on the list” of potential features.

Threads has a solid foundation, despite Twitter having decades to establish itself and create tools. Twitter has been making a fool of itself over the past year with constant policy changes, a surge of alt-right content, and the egregious quickly approaching removal of TweetDeck for non-Twitter Blue users. Also, you can still get verified on Instagram and Threads for being a public figure, one of the many features removed from Twitter by Musk’s decree.

For creators, Threads is a solid option that doesn’t require as much upkeep as the other platforms you need to post on. If you are already a star on Instagram or just have a modest following, there’s no reason not to at least jump in and watch the weird social landscape of the app develop (as long as you don’t mind it being connected to your Instagram permanently). Since shitposting etiquette hasn’t developed yet, and you still don’t have to worry about creepy direct messages from parasocial fans, Threads is a chance to really let loose.

What’s your experience with Threads? Emails [email protected] to clue us into arising issues with the app.

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