This summer we gained a shiny new competitor for Twitter: Threads. Owned by Meta, Threads is a Twitter-like, text-focused social media platform that is directly tied to your existing Instagram account. So, what is the difference between Threads and Twitter? And do you really need another social media platform? Let’s dig in.
You Didn’t Forget About Twitter Did You?
Recently, Twitter has started their rebranding process to the new brand name “X”. While executives at X are pushing for wide-scale use of the new name there has been significant backlash. Since most of us are still calling the site Twitter that’s what we’re going to use for this post.
Let’s have a little recap about Twitter, the original microblogging site. Starting in 2006, Twitter has always been a major player in the Social Media world. Recently Twitter has had some pretty major changes. The platform has always been divisive, with some people loving the immediacy of conversation and the direct line to people, brands, and political figures. In October 2022 Twitter was purchased by Elon Musk, who instituted many changes, many of which were met with negative backlash. This backlash led to many users abandoning the site.
What is the deal with Threads?
In a move to replace Twitter, Meta (the overarching brand that covers Facebook and Instagram) created Threads, which launched July 2023. This social media platform has seen the fastest growth of any other platform to date with one million sign-ups in the first 7 hours. The concept is nearly the same as Twitter, but in an unusual move, Threads is directly linked to your Instagram account. In order to set up a Threads account you must already have an Instagram account.
What are the similarities between Twitter and Threads?
Twitter and Threads hold largely the same purpose. They both allow you to share text-based posts to other users, along with links, photos, and videos. Think of Threads as simply an alternative to Twitter.
What are the differences between Twitter and Threads?
While Twitter and Threads hold a very similar purpose, there are quite a few differences once you get into the nitty-gritty. It’s important to know that Threads is new and is still evolving. Is it likely that Threads will work and look exactly the same in a year from now? Not one bit. Although Twitter is a much older platform, it has been changed regularly in the last year. But for now, here is what you need to know.
- Desktop version: Currently Threads is a mobile-only application with no desktop version. Twitter allows both mobile and desktop access.
- Character limit: Twitter recently increased their character limit to 10,000 for Twitter Blue subscribers. Without Twitter Blue, users have 280 characters to share a message. Threads character limit is 500.
- Ads: Twitter allows businesses to promote tweets and share advertisements on the platform. Users see the ads as they interact with the site. In a surprising move Threads launched without any ads – though this is likely to change over time.
- Followers: Both platforms allow users to follow other users to see their posted content. Both platforms also allow users to block and report users for misconduct. The main difference between the two is that Threads automatically allows users to follow the same users they follow on Instagram. This allows people to grow their followers on Threads much more quickly than starting a Twitter profile from scratch.
- Algorithm: While both platforms allow users to follow whomever they want, how the platform decides which posts you see (the algorithm) is quite different. While algorithms change regularly, Twitter focuses on showing you content from the people you follow, while Threads shows you mostly content they think you will like, regardless of who is sharing the post. This has led to frustration for users who must block or mute users who show up in their feed that they do not want to see.
- Hashtags: Hashtags are a way to find content shared with the same tag. Twitter has long used hashtags, but Threads launched without this functionality. Threads is set to update with Hashtags (and other updates) soon.
- Direct Messages: Currently Threads does not have direct message (DM) capabilities. This means everything you share from your account is open to the public, even if you are replying to a specific person or post.
Do I Need A Threads Account?
For many small businesses, a new social media platform can just sound like an extra time drain on your day. Here’s what we think: if you are an active Twitter and Instagram user you should absolutely join threads if you haven’t already. For businesses that don’t use Twitter or Instagram as a way to interact with customers or find new business, there is no need to use Threads. Because Threads is linked to your Instagram account, your username is effectively saved, there is no need at this time to create an account just to save your username.
At the moment there are many ways that Threads could open you to a new audience with their algorithm, and the ability to automatically follow the same users as Instagram. However, with no hashtags and no ads, it’s harder to easily and reliably reach brand-new users.
So what is the verdict? Will you be joining Threads? We love to chat about all things social media. If you need help making your small business shine online, send us a message and set up a free strategy session.