New Threads? Meta’s ‘Twitter Killer’ will change the digital content creation landscape
Article by Nathan Hew
Meta’s new social media app, Threads, has taken the world by storm.
Just a day after its launch, Mark Zuckerberg — whose Thread handle goes by “Zuck” — announced that more than 30 million people had registered accounts for Meta’s new Twitter rival.
Dubbed the “Twitter killer”, Zuckerberg’s long-rumoured competitor app to Twitter was unveiled as a companion to Instagram, the popular photo-sharing network he bought more than a decade ago.
Threads, like Twitter, allows users to share short text posts that others can react to, reshare, and comment on, with the exclusion of a direct messaging function. The application enables posts containing up to 500 characters and includes links, images, and videos of up to five minutes in length.
The introduction of Threads ramps up the heated rivalry between Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, who bought Twitter last year.
But this new app brings about a plethora of questions.
How will this new app affect content creation? What can creators look forward to in this new platform? Will Threads outlast other apps like Clubhouse or BeReal?
Let’s take a look at the events leading up to the launch of Threads for some answers.
The “Twitter Killer” phenomenon
Since Musk bought Twitter in 2022, its reliability has deteriorated as he repeatedly slashed the company’s workforce. While the social media services remain operational, many users have reported outages, bugs, and other glitches, according to the New York Times.
Worse, Twitter has been known to be a reactive and impulsive place. Much of this has to do with the constraint on character usage, which some have argued made communication more impersonal.
Take Formula One, for example.
When Lewis Hamilton lost out on claiming his eighth driver’s title due to a controversial decision made by Racing Director Michael Massi during the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, many fans took to Twitter. They vented their frustration on Max Verstappen, who claimed his first driver’s title.
Recently, Musk also revealed a reading limit for Twitter.
Initially, unverified accounts were limited to reading 300 tweets a day, existing unverified accounts at 600 tweets per day and verified accounts getting 6000 tweets per day.
Eventually, the limit was raised to:
- 500 tweets for new unverified users
- 1,000 tweets for unverified users
- 10,000 tweets for verified users
What was the inspiration behind Instagram’s Threads?
According to the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, they have tried to simplify their app over the past few years. Part of the effort included turning Threads into a separate app so that Instagram won’t be too cluttered by trying to make public conversations work inside its existing app.
Mosseri also referenced the tumultuous moment in the social media landscape brought about by Twitter in his interview with New York Times.
“There was an opportunity or demand for more people to play in the public space,” he said. Mosseri added that the chance to challenge Twitter came about “not just because of the ownership, but because of product changes and decisions” that Musk and others made to how the social platform works.
How will Threads affect digital content creation?
Instagram’s endgame is to have Threads work across multiple apps in the Fediverse, an acronym for a federated universe of services that share communication protocols.
The appeal for creators is that they no longer have to start from scratch when creating an account on Threads. For now, those interested in signing up for the new app must have an Instagram and the user’s Instagram handle will also be the Threads user name.
That said, let’s break down some of the differences so you can decide whether you should join the bandwagon.
At the time of writing, Instagram has not set a reading limit for users on Threads.
Meta, however, has confirmed a 500-character count limit for Threads, while unverified Twitter users have a 280-character limit.
Currently, users can’t embed a Thread post in an article, but they can do that with Twitter posts.
Embedding social media posts on other platforms has brought many benefits, including increased engagement, boosted traffic, greater visibility, better user experience, and increased credibility.
Hashtags on Twitter have been instrumental in classifying certain posts, revealing trending keywords, and even increasing the likelihood of users interested in discussing a particular subject.
Currently, a keyword search on Threads yields only users holding accounts on the platform. However, given Threads’ nascent stage, it’s no surprise that more Twitter-like integrations are likely in the pipeline.
Twitter’s homepage also offers trending topics and personalized recommendations while exploring Threads is currently limited to scrolling through the home feed.
Twitter’s direct messaging leverages the power of one-on-one conversation, which can have just as much impact on the creator’s audience as any other marketing effort.
Currently, Thread does not support a direct messaging feature — a facet of many social media platforms that new Thread users have highly requested.
Given its integration with Instagram, users will have to wait and see if Mosseri will roll out this feature.
Meta’s new social media app is not available in all regions.
Bloomberg reported that certain areas, including the European Union, will initially be excluded as Meta navigates the data-sharing regulations between Threads and its Instagram app.
It all boils down to the guidance concerning the Digital Markets Act, a set of EU competition regulations that dictates the operational dynamics of large online platforms. The European Commission is expected to give more guidance in September.
Creators within the region will have to wait or rely on Twitter before the app is available for download on the app stores.
Still, they won’t need to worry as Meta is still rolling out new features and improving the user experience on this new app.
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