In the ever-evolving landscape of social media, platforms are constantly striving to innovate and capture the attention of users. Twitter, once an unrivaled force in the realm of microblogging, has faced new challenges since Elon Musk acquired the platform. While several competitors have emerged, such as Bluesky and Mastodon, none have managed to truly disrupt Twitter’s dominance. However, Instagram Threads, a spin-off app from Instagram, has recently gained significant traction, surpassing 5 million users in record time. This article explores the features, advantages, and potential impact of Instagram Threads as it takes on Twitter head-on.
What are Instagram Threads?
Instagram Threads is a distinct offering from Instagram that shifts the focus from visual content to conversations. Users can log in using their Instagram accounts and engage in text-based updates and public discussions. The app’s design resembles the comment section of Instagram but incorporates features reminiscent of Twitter, including the ability to reply and reshare posts. With Threads, users can create posts with up to 500 characters, include links, share up to 10 photos, and even upload videos up to 5 minutes in length. Notably, unlike Twitter, Threads does not appear to utilize hashtags or feature a trending section.
Signing Up for Instagram Threads
One of the primary reasons for Instagram Threads’ initial success is its seamless integration with Instagram’s existing user base of 2.35 billion people. Instead of starting from scratch like other Twitter competitors, Threads leverages the vast Instagram ecosystem. Signing up for Threads is as simple as downloading the app from Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play Store, logging in with an Instagram account, and importing relevant information, including the user’s bio, automatically. Threads assigns users a unique ID based on their rank, indicating the time of their app registration. This ID is displayed as a badge under the user’s name or username on their Instagram profile, informing their followers that they are active Threads users. Notably, users under the age of 18 receive a default private profile.
Using Instagram Threads
For users familiar with Twitter, Threads will feel intuitive and familiar. Importing followers from Instagram results in a feed that includes recognizable profiles, enabling interactions with existing posts or the creation of new ones by tapping on the pencil icon on the app’s bottom navigation bar. Many popular Instagram accounts have already embraced Threads, including The Indian Express, making it easy for users to locate and follow their favorite accounts.
Instagram Threads vs. Twitter: A Comparison
While Instagram Threads has gained substantial traction, it is still a minimalist app with limited features. In comparison to Twitter’s sophisticated search function, which allows users to explore tweets and trending topics, Threads only permits searches for people to follow. Additionally, Threads does not currently offer the ability to send posts directly to other users, a feature present in both Instagram and Twitter. However, it is important to note that Threads is in the early stages of its development, and additional features and improvements are likely to be introduced over time.
Threads’ greatest advantage over Twitter lies in its connection to Instagram’s massive user base. This user base, combined with growing dissatisfaction surrounding Elon Musk’s leadership on Twitter, provides Threads with a strong foundation. While other Twitter alternatives, such as Bluesky and Mastodon, have emerged following Musk’s acquisition of the platform, they face the challenge of building their audiences from scratch. Consequently, these alternative platforms may appear relatively empty and lack the liveliness associated with Twitter. Additionally, the ease of use of a new social media platform plays a significant role in its success, and Mastodon, for instance, is often perceived as too technical for the average user.
Privacy Concerns with Instagram Threads
Despite its success, Instagram Threads has raised some privacy concerns. The app’s permissions list, visible on its respective App Store listings, reveals that users must grant access to their “Financial Info” and “Sensitive Info.” These permissions raise valid concerns, especially considering that Threads is developed by Meta, formerly known as Facebook, a company that has faced numerous scandals and controversies in the past.
The Evolution of Threads
Instagram Threads may sound familiar to avid Instagram users. The name “Threads” was previously used for an app released in 2019 by the same company, serving as a companion to Instagram. The initial Threads app was centered around “camera-first” messaging, enabling users to share status updates and engage in conversations with their “Close Friends.” However, this version of Threads was discontinued in December 2021. The current Threads app is an entirely new iteration aiming to challenge Twitter’s dominance.
The Future of Instagram Threads
In a company-wide meeting held in June, Meta’s product chief, Chris Cox, unveiled his vision for Threads: a secure, user-friendly, and reliable platform that provides creators with a stable environment to build and expand their audiences. Meta’s plan involves ensuring Threads’ compatibility with ActivityPub, a universally accepted social networking protocol established by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which serves as the guardian of open standards on the web. This compatibility would enable Threads to interoperate with other apps supporting the ActivityPub protocol, such as Mastodon and WordPress, facilitating new types of connections that are currently not possible on most social media platforms.
In Conclusion, Instagram Threads presents a compelling alternative to Twitter, leveraging Instagram’s vast user base and focusing on text-based conversations. While still in its early stages, Threads has garnered significant attention, surpassing 5 million users in record time. With its seamless integration with Instagram and the growing dissatisfaction surrounding Twitter, Threads has the potential to disrupt the social media landscape. As it continues to evolve and incorporate new features, Instagram Threads could provide a fresh and engaging platform for users seeking an alternative to Twitter’s dominance in the microblogging space.