August 7, 2023
Threads vs Twitter
Watch out, Twitter - Threads is on the scene.
In case you haven’t heard, Meta recently unveiled Threads, a new app for sharing text updates and joining in on public discussions. After months of speculation, Threads was officially launched in July.
Threads was created as a text-based alternative to Instagram. It’s a standalone platform where you can follow and connect with others.
Now, let’s explore the ins and outs of Threads and see how it stacks up against its rival, Twitter.
How Threads works
Threads offers an online space where you can express your ideas and follow others with similar interests.
Since you need to use your Instagram account to sign into Threads, you can follow everyone you currently follow on Instagram.
Once you’ve downloaded Threads, you’ll be taken to the feed.
Like Instagram, your feed includes posts from the accounts you follow and suggests content from new creators you have yet to discover.
Your posts on Threads can be up to 500 characters long and include links, photos, and videos that are up to 5 minutes.
And yes, you can create threads in Threads.
There are a few ways you can engage with posts in Threads. You can:
Heart icon: Like the thread.
Dialog box icon: Reply to the thread.
Reverse symbol icon: Repost the thread with a quote option.
Paper plane icon: Share the thread on Instagram, copy the link, or share it via text, email, AirDrop, or other social media platforms on your phone.
Like Instagram, you can use hidden words to filter out replies containing specific words.
You can unfollow, block, restrict, or report profiles by tapping the menu to manage profiles.
If you've blocked any accounts on Instagram, they'll also be blocked on Threads automatically.
Hit the figure icon to head over to your profile. This is where you can see your Threads and any replies you’ve made.
Adjusting your settings and preferences on the Thread app is straightforward. Head over to your profile and click the two lines in your screen's top right-hand corner. Then, hit ‘Account’ to access your account settings and preferences.
How popular is Threads?
When Threads first launched on July 5th, it gained 10 million followers in a matter of hours. That was a Wednesday, and by the following Monday - the number skyrocketed to 100 million. This is the first time a non-game app has achieved such rapid growth in such a short amount of time.
Despite its overnight success, Thread’s rapid rise in popularity has proven to be short-lived, though. Since its launch, engagement on the app has been declining.
In the US, people were most engaged with Threads for about 21 minutes on July 7. By July 14, that time dropped significantly to a little over 6 minutes.
The number of daily active users on the Tuesday and Wednesday following Thread’s release also dropped by 20%. And the time spent in the app decreased from 20 to 10 minutes.
However, it’s still early days, so we’ll see how things fare as time goes on. Mark Zuckerberg did mention that some Threads functions still haven’t seen the light of day. So, time will tell.
How does Threads compare to Twitter?
It's very similar and clear that Threads was created to take on Twitter.
Writing a new post on both platforms is quite similar and straightforward.
The biggest difference is the length of text you’re allowed to post on free accounts. As mentioned earlier, Threads' posts can be up to 500 characters.
Twitter, on the other hand, caps the limit at 280 characters for free accounts. However, if you pay for Twitter Blue, your maximum tweet length becomes 10,000 characters.
Engagement is much higher on Threads than it is on Twitter. According to HubSpot's research, from the users they tracked, Threads outperforms Twitter in engagement metrics.
Threads averaged 31.4 likes and 4.3 comments per post, while Twitter received 4.9 likes and 0.4 comments.
HubSpot adjusted for follower counts and found that Threads had significantly higher engagement ratios than Twitter: 0.41% likes (hearts) per follower compared to Twitter's 0.015% and 0.056% engagement per follower for comments compared to Twitter's 0.001%.
Twitter can be quite political and heavy on hard news.
Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram and Threads, has come out and said that they won’t be as present on Threads.
According to Mosseri, “There are more than enough amazing communities — sports, music, fashion, beauty, entertainment, etc. — to make a vibrant platform without needing to get into politics or hard news.”
Twitter, on the other hand, has had a huge impact on news and journalism throughout its history. Alternatively, Threads wants to make a name for itself as a more lighthearted platform.
Twitter and Threads have different approaches to direct messaging. On Twitter, you have a special place called direct messages for talking one-on-one or in groups. You can chat with your followers or new people by changing your privacy settings. You can send texts, pictures, voice messages, and GIFs through DMs right in the app.
However, Threads doesn't have its own messaging space, aside from Instagram DMs. You can still share Threads with friends, family, and others using the 'Share Via' option.
For Threads, it's the broader Meta verified program starting at $11.99/month.
Unlike Twitter, where your feed is often peppered with advertisements, Threads is currently ad-free. However, that may change in the future.
Threads is now available as a mobile app for iOS and Android users. You can easily find and install it from the App Store or Google Play Store. They might release a web version later.
Twitter started as a website back in 2006 but quickly switched to an app-based platform. This change allowed users to access their accounts easily from anywhere. So, you can also install it from the App Store or Google Play Store.
Instagram Threads is now available in 100 countries. When it was first launched, you could use it in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Japan. It's not currently available in the European Union.
Twitter is available in around 159 countries worldwide. It's restricted in 36 countries throughout Middle Eastern, Asian, and African regions.
Twitter still boasts around 535 million users despite its rocky experience in the last while. In comparison, Threads currently has about 120 million followers.
As you can see below, though Threads gained a lot of attention at the outset, it hasn’t been able to sustain it. And, despite Twitter’s struggles, it still maintains a somewhat steady level of interest.
Remember that Twitter was the first of its kind—a pioneer in microblogging, enabling users to share short messages in real-time. Being the first to market has allowed Twitter to amass a huge follower count and poses challenges for similar platforms, like Threads.