Just over a month ago a new social media platform called Threads launched – and it was chaos! I spent most of that first day on the app and started out asking myself how long I could get away with it before I had to get some work done. I soon realised that I was working: I was networking and getting to know a platform that I could very well be managing for small business owners in the near future.
So what is Threads?
Threads is a platform owned by Meta and launched as a rival to X (aka Twitter). It’s a text-based platform with a limit to the number of characters you can post, but if you run out you can simply add a second Thread to appear underneath. It’s a space where many are choosing to show the reel sides of their business and it’s not a space for perfection like Instagram.
I’ve seen it described as a “group chat with the world”, as a “sounding board”, as a “networking space”, and as an “extra platform to have to think about”. Although I absolutely agree with those descriptions, I think the best description has come from Adam Mosseri (the head of Instagram, and therefore of Threads) who simply described it as a work in progress.
“I’ve been enjoying the organic nature of it. Last night I joined a haiku thread and spent five minutes writing a little poem and communicating with others. It’s also been fab for connecting with other artists and sharing our thoughts and ideas. I’ve no idea how to use the follower button but I quite like seeing things that I wouldn’t normally do. I think kind and gentle people are able to have a voice on here which is more than can be said for other platforms.” – @janemorrow.artist
Is Threads really worth all the hype?
Whether Threads is for you or not, you have to admit that reaching 100 million users on their 4th day is impressive! But that’s not actually a fair representation.
I shared a poll on my social media accounts last week and only 10% of respondents had tried it and loved it. 20% had tried it and decided it wasn’t for them. 30% were tempted to try it. And 40% doubted they’d be signing up.
Obviously, those stats are from a very small pool of business owners but the fact is that Threads is now down to 8 million daily users.
That drop in daily users isn’t necessarily a sign of Threads becoming irrelevant already. I mean, 8 million is still huge! It took Instagram two and a half months to reach just 1 million users back in 2010.
What’s the link between Threads and Instagram?
The two platforms are very closely related, and not only because they are run by the same people. You actually sign up to Threads using your Instagram login, you share the same name across both platforms and you can find a link to people’s Instagram profiles on their Threads profiles (and vice-versa).
You may have heard that you can’t delete your Threads account without deleting your Instagram. That’s true! It’s set up that way because Threads is run through Instagram. If you’re worried about it, you’ll be pleased to know that Adam Mosseri has said it is temporary.
The two platforms are linked because they wanted to remove the fear of having to start on a new platform with zero followers. When you sign up, you can choose to follow all the people you follow on Instagram.
Now, if you don’t use Instagram for your business, I can feel you worrying – but don’t! I know people who chose to start afresh and who are doing great. I’d actually decided a while back that Instagram wasn’t the platform for Ace of Media, but I created one (and don’t use it) simply so that I could sign-up to Threads. I may have started afresh but I now have over 130 followers, and yes some I knew from other platforms, but most are small businesses that I hadn’t yet had the pleasure of coming across.
Why is Threads a work in progress?
They launched Threads earlier than planned as a response to X (or Twitter as it was still known) introducing the daily view limit. If you haven’t heard about that it basically means that unless you’re verified you can only see 600 Tweets a day.
On the 25th July, they had their first major update and introduced a Following Tab allowing us to only see posts from people we were following. This was huge because the algorithm doesn’t know what we like yet so most of our recommendations are posts from celebrities and news outlets.
“Now that I can choose to only see posts by accounts I follow, it’s a lot less noisy. I’m enjoying it, for now.” – @fromthecauldronuk
Their next update should be within the next couple of weeks. That will give us the ability to search for words (we can currently only search for people) and the ability to use Threads on our computers. The search update is the one I’ve been waiting for! It will make it a lot easier to discover new people and it will make it easier for the algorithm to learn what we actually want to see.
They have also announced that they are working on an edit button to allow us to make changes to our posts after we’ve posted them, and a like list to allow us to see all the posts we’ve liked.
Currently, hashtags aren’t a thing over there, and I think they are reluctant to introduce them. If they create a powerful search option, I wouldn’t be surprised if they never introduce hashtags. Hashtags can be really useful but unfortunately, they also make it easier for bullies to find their targets.
Should you sign-up?
Honestly, that’s a difficult question. I would usually get you to think about whether your target audience is using the platform, but it’s too early to say who’s using Threads. And so, I suppose it comes down to whether you have the time. Engagement is definitely key over there so it’s a platform that does take up a lot of time.
But, it is converting! I’ve had people register an interest in my upcoming Membership Group, I had a little spike in website visits on Launch Day and I’ve seen a much bigger reach on Facebook every time I’ve mentioned Threads. I’ve also got to know some people who I actually do follow on Facebook but never really connected with and have since become a total fan.
If you do decide to sign-up, please come and find me @ace.of.media. I’m using the platform as a “get to know me” type of space and sharing a lot more behind the scene content than I do on my other platforms.