Twitter vs Threads

Zuckerberg is at it again with a new social media platform, this time a rival to Twitter, which has itself just completed a controversial rebrand. According to Harper’s Bazaar, Threads is the most rapidly downloaded app of all time and, because of its similarity to Musk’s clunkily re-named X, it’s been described as a ‘Twitter killer’. Could Threads really replace the big blue bird? Managing director Richard Stone explores.

According to Data AI, Threads had 18.3 per cent of users from Twitter on its platform just three days after its launch on July 5 and, as of mid-July, the app had one-fifth of the weekly active users from Twitter.

In many ways, Threads is very similar to Twitter, with almost identical features. However, it’s still in the early stages of its development, so it’s likely we’ll see it  evolve to offer more features.

Is new better?

Although lots of users have jumped on the new platform to try out Twitter’s rival, many are quick to point out its differences. For example, Threads is directly linked to your Instagram account, copying your followers over to the new platform when you sign up.

Because the two are so interlinked, to fully remove your Threads profile, your Instagram account must also be deleted. Don’t panic though ― you can deactivate your Threads account without it damaging your Instagram profile, it just won’t be permanently deleted from the platform.

Threads doesn’t currently use hashtags or allow users to search for specific content, but it does have a larger character limit of 500 characters and allows up to ten photos per post. While not perfect, Threads has a lot of promise and, in future, could be a strong competitor to Twitter, especially with the latest updates from Musk making many people reconsider staying on the app.

Utility not entertainment

The face of social media is evolving, and new platforms are popping up more frequently. The foundation idea of most social media is to enjoy creating your own content as well as engaging with content from other users, but over the last few years most platforms have become more and more about digital commerce. Users are evolving to become both customers and advertisers, blurring the lines between personal and professional.

In a 2022 interview with CNBC, Zuckerberg explained his hope that people would use his apps to build digital commerce empires. We’ve already seen Facebook become more like a utility, using your profile to log into the cloud and other apps for convenience. As TechCrunch said, “This is Meta we’re talking about ― fun isn’t the point at all.”

So, while many of the creators that have taken a shine to the new app have deemed it a ‘nicer’ culture than Twitter, the core purpose of the platform is really to sell or build a brand. The commercial value it delivers to Meta is to help make the organisation into a utility, exactly as Google has done with its own offering.

But that doesn’t mean technology, scientific and engineering companies can’t entertain their users while also promoting their products and services. Humour is still the most engaged with content style, so if businesses hope to get any sort of traction on the new platform, they should look at adapting their style to fit with their users.

Right now, Threads is still in its infancy and we’re sure to see multiple updates over the next year or so. In future, it could become a great platform for business flourish in its own right – and much more than a simple Twitter killer.

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About the author

Richard Stone
Richard Stone - CHART.PR, MCIPR

Stone Junction is managed by Richard Stone, a chartered member of the CIPR whose previous experience includes campaigns for Arup, AIT Plc, CIENA, Parker Hannifin, Schneider Electric, SIG, SKF, Roche and WorldCom.

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