I’ve been doing social media professionally for over half a decade now. I wouldn’t say I could make any account in the world go viral or even that I’m fully informed on every single element of social platforms. However, I have used social media both for work and also personally almost every single day for over a decade now.
I’m always one of the first to try out new apps when they come along and am very keen to then compare them to whichever platform it is they’re trying to replicate (because being original isn’t cool anymore). Enter: Threads, an Instagram app.
Threads was only released about 12 hours ago and I’ve had a good extensive look at it so I thought I would give my initial impressions from someone who uses Twitter and Instagram almost every single day.
This isn’t going to be a deep dive into all of the pros and cons of Threads compared to the other apps, it’s simply what my initial impressions are on it based on the first few hours I’ve had a chance to play with it and hopefully, this will help you decide whether it’s worth the jump.
Initial set up
So right off the bat, one of the best things (or maybe worst for some people) about Threads is that because it’s built by Meta, all you have to do is log in with your Instagram account.
When logging in, you can import your handle, name, and description into your profile from Instagram and you can follow all of your contacts who have joined Threads. This makes the whole set-up of the app the least daunting of any social media app I’ve ever seen. In fact, it makes it quite a joy because you’re already following people you want to follow. You shouldn’t really have to go and find them.
The experience itself
Once you’re all logged in, you’ll see a feed that looks incredibly similar to the one on your Twitter feed. You have your like, your comment, your “retweet” and then your share icons. These would all work exactly as you’d expect except one thing I found funny is that you can actually share a post on Thread directly to Twitter. It’s actually one of the direct options after ‘Add to story’ and ‘Post to feed’ (both of which go to your Instagram) which I think is wonderfully clever.
This makes the initial experience feel very natural and familiar to anyone who uses Twitter or anybody who has Instagram and is transferring over to this new microblogging platform.
What you then may begin to see is that not every post you’re seeing as from people you follow (you can tell because their mini profile icons have a plus symbol on them) and that many of the posts you’re seeing are in fact those that you follow responding to others. Whether this is an intended feature to improve discoverability or not, I don’t know, but it does make the experience feel a bit odd right now.
This leads me on to things missing from Threads as it stands.
Threads is brand new and so it hasn’t launched with all of the mass of features that Twitter has managed to refine over the past decades. Therefore it’s missing some bits. Anything crucial? No. And apparently, the Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri knows this and has spent a lot of today replying to people with feature requests informing them there’s a long list of great things they want to bring to Threads.
But what is missing that you might notice? Here’s a quick list:
- No hashtags. Yep, you can type them out but they won’t be clickable like on Twitter
- Can’t see a list of posts you’ve liked like on Twitter
- Can’t add GIFs yet unless you’ve got a keyboard that has GIFs embedded directly in
- You can’t search posts, you’re only searching names and handles when you use the search
- You can’t switch between different Threads accounts so if you have one personal Insta and one business, you can’t quickly switch between them without logging out of one and into another
- You can’t see a list of who you’re following or the number of people you’re following
- You cant see a feed of just people you follow in chronological order there’s definitely some algorithm to it (and we all know how this negatively affected Instagram)
- There’s no “Trending” area. This will be crucial to success for Threads as this is why people keep coming back to Twitter.
Are any of these missing features deal breakers? Absolutely not. If we don’t see some of these features implemented in the next couple of months or so might it deter people? Absolutely.
Final impressions of Threads
My initial few hours of Thread have been very positive. The app itself (I’m using iOS) seems incredibly polished. I’ve had absolutely no bugs or hiccups with it yet and it’s been an absolute joy to scroll through and see so much content that I’m actually interested in reading!
Threads isn’t going to blow your mind with some smart new feature however if you’re sitting there wondering whether it’s joining in tandem with Twitter then I would say it is.
Realistically I don’t think Twitter is going to die quickly and I don’t think Threads in its current state is going to stop me from thinking that. However, if this becomes the place to get your news and enough big names jump on it and we see screenshots of Threads starting to appear as news then yes, it could be the downfall.
For now, it’s a very polished, simplified Twitter that integrates all of your favourite people from Instagram into your feed and gives them some words to say rather than some pictures to post (though they can still do that if they want).