Untangling the Threads of Twitter’s Latest Rival

Jul 26, 2023

Twitter is one of the original social media platforms from the early aughts. Through short-form messages and a public-square-like atmosphere, it quickly established itself as the place to go for real-time updates, breaking news and trending topics.  

Until Elon Musk bought it in late 2022. 

Since then, the platform has undergone many questionable changes, including paying for the verified blue checkmark and limiting the number of tweets a user can view per day. Unsurprisingly, the app’s fate has been the subject of debate for months, with multiple companies trying and failing to fill the bird-shaped hole in the social media landscape. 

That is until Meta threw its hat into the ring.  


What Is Threads?  


In early July, the social media giant launched its new app, Threads, to the tune of 30 million downloads in less than 24 hours. The app’s core functionality is the same as Twitter’s; users can make short text posts and interact with other users’ content through liking, commenting and quoting.  


How Is Threads Different from Twitter? 


Aside from Threads’ tie-in with Instagram (users are required to have an Instagram account to start a Threads account), the biggest differences between the two platforms are:  


  •  The UI. Threads’ interface is very minimal, with a single feed providing users with a mix of recommended content (no doubt powered by Meta’s algorithm) and followed content. With Twitter, users can customize their feed and switch between accounts they follow and a recommended feed.
  • A lack of features. Threads is still a work in progress and is missing important features for users and advertisers alike. Currently, there’s no ability to use hashtags or search for posts by topic. Ads and promotional content are also absent. However, developers have promised more features are coming, and the app even received its first feature update last week (iOS only), adding a followers tab and a translate button. 


How Is Threads Performing? 


There’s no doubt Threads’ lack of features has slowed its progress. While the app boasts an impressive user base of around 117 million, engagement has dropped almost 70%. At the same time, Twitter continues to undergo bizarre changes, like its recent rebrand to X, that could make Threads look like a more appealing, and stable, alternative. 


How Should You Be Using Threads – Is It Even Worth It? 


Who wins this social media battle, or if there even is one, remains to be seen. But, for businesses looking to get the most out of this Twitter-killer app, keep these things in mind: 


  • The newness and lack of saturation on Threads make it ripe for organic engagement and experimenting with content. 
  • Keep an eye on the users. They will set the tone for how an app is used. Twitter wasn’t built with the goal of becoming the go-to source for news and politics; it became one. 
  • Meta emphasizes Threads as a “friendly” forum for public conversation, focusing on creator/follower interaction. This means Threads could evolve into a much different experience from Twitter. 
  • Twitter isn’t dead – yet. The platform is a shell of its former self, but users are still there and tweeting. Or is it ‘X-ing’ now?
  • TikTok has just announced plans to roll out its owner competitor, so stay tuned.