Threads is now live everywhere (except Europe). Initial reactions from users speak of a rather Twitter-like experience.
“Threads by Meta,” the full name of the new platform, has the same setup as Twitter. Users see a feed they can scroll that is already equipped with several automatic subscriptions. We see the same thing not only with major competitor Twitter, but also with Reddit and Instagram.
Mixture of Twitter and Instagram
For many users, the main noticeable difference will be that Threads has a character limit of 500 characters, significantly more than the 280 at Twitter. The Guardian reports that the app comes across as a hodgepodge of that platform and Meta’s own Instagram. Incidentally, the only login method with Threads is by using an existing Instagram account, something that explains why rumours in recent months sometimes suggested that Threads would be a feature within Instagram.
Another significant difference between Threads and existing major players in the microblogging market is the lack of hashtags, and thus trending topics. In addition, there is no room for DMs, which somewhere makes sense given the existing feature on Instagram.
Interface: ‘clean’, no desktop version
Many first impressions describe an interface reminiscent of Instagram, complete with vivid colours. The “Verified” badges look a lot like Twitter’s, and you’d be forgiven if a quick glance at your phone doesn’t immediately tell you which platform it is.
There is no desktop version available, which immediately gives Threads the impression of being a somewhat more compact platform than Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Reddit.
Algorithm still being finetuned
Threads is a way out for those looking to move away from the tumultuous Twitter saga, with Elon Musk constantly coming up with significant changes. In addition, that platform also went down for many users last weekend when Musk rate-limited readable tweets.
As a new platform, it’s understandable that the algorithm will take some time to figure out what a user wants. One first impression speaks of a frustrating news feed and strange suggestions for obscure individuals to follow. This seems inevitable for such an early stage in the life of Threads, but we’ll keep an eye on how this develops.
However, it will be unclear for some time yet who will determine the “culture” of Threads and whether its meteoric growth will lead to a significant user base in the longer term.