July 5, 2023 a new application called Threads was officially launched by Meta. The app offers a space for online conversations in real time, a function that has long been Twitter’s defining feature. Threads passed 30 million sign ups in less than 24 hours (currently, there are over 100 million Threads users).
In this article we’ll have a look at the key differences between Threads and Twitter.
Introduction to Threads
The app was available for “preorder” through iOS, notifying users who were alerted of its existence through a flashy Instagram cross-promotion. Threads is deeply integrated with Instagram, and Instagram accounts now display a Threads user number, making the count both transparent and real time.
After downloading the app, users are asked to link up their Instagram page, customize their profile and follow the same accounts they already follow on Instagram. The look is similar to Twitter, with a familiar layout, text-based feed, and the ability to repost and quote other Thread posts. But it also blends Instagram’s existing aesthetic, offering the ability to share posts from Threads directly to Instagram Stories.
Threads allows users to post short updates, including text of up to 500 characters, links, photos, and videos of up to 5 minutes in length.
The app is available for iOS and Android in 100 countries. Users can log in with their Instagram credentials, and their username and verification status will be transferred. However, Threads profiles can also be customized independently.
“The vision for Threads is to create an option and friendly public space for conversation,” Zuckerberg said in a Threads post following the launch. “We hope to take what Instagram does best and create a new experience around text, ideas, and discussing what’s on your mind.”
Mark Zuckerberg also responded to posts and shared his thoughts on whether Threads will ever be bigger than Twitter.
“It will take some time, but I think there should be a public conversations app with over 1 billion people on it. Twitter has had the opportunity to do this but hasn’t nailed it,” Zuckerberg wrote on Threads. “Hopefully we will.”
The app’s listing describes it as a place where communities can come together to discuss everything from what’s on their minds to what’s trending.
What are the differences between Threads and Twitter?
- Threads requires an Instagram account
Threads is a Meta app. To sign up for it you will need to already have an Instagram account, with the option of importing important information like your verification, bio and friends from Instagram over to Threads.
Twitter only requires an email address or phone number to sign up, and is not linked to other social media platforms.
- A desktop version
Threads is currently only available as an app on Android and iOS devices, which means you can’t use Threads on desktop PCs and laptops, which may be a big problem if that’s your main way of using social media.
Twitter doesn’t have this restriction. It’s available both as an app (on Android and iOS) and through a web browser, so you can still log into the platform on Mac and PC.
- Direct messaging
Threads is missing numerous basic features at launch. This includes the lack of direct messaging. Although this may change soon, at this moment you can’t speak to other users privately, unlike Twitter, where you may use direct messaging.
- Content limits
Both platforms allow you to share images, videos, GIFs, and links in the posts. However, you can only share GIFs on Threads if they are stored in your phone’s gallery. While you can share a text post of up to 500 characters on Threads, Tweets are limited to 240 characters on a basic account. Twitter allows Blue subscribers to Tweet up to 25,000 characters.
In addition, Twitter allows you to add 4 items to your post, while Threads allows you to share up to 10 items in your post, similar to Instagram. With Threads, you can be more creative with your content thanks to the carousel posts. Twitter isn’t as fun with additional content as it’s a text-first platform.
Twitter is the fastest way to share news worldwide. It has a powerful search option that lets you search for trending news, keywords, people, hashtags, people, and usernames.
In contrast, Threads search is limited. At this moment, it only allows you to search for accounts. Although this may change, we’re not sure how soon Meta plans to add platform-wide search capabilities to Thread.
Currently, the Threads feed is very basic. It only allows you to see posts from users you follow or trending posts. There is no option to customize the feed to suit your preference.
Conversely, Twitter allows you to customize the content you see in your feed. If you only want to see content from the accounts you follow closely, you can select “Following”. If you want to relax and see more relevant content, you can select “For You” from the settings to see a mix of relevant content and posts from the accounts you follow.
As Meta and Twitter are highly dependent on advertising revenue, they collect vast user data from all the relevant platforms. Your Twitter feed is always full of ads and sponsored content, although Blue subscribers see relatively fewer ads.
However, Threads is ad-free right now. This means that while your feed is free of ads, you cannot promote any posts to reach more users.
It’s early days to conclude something about Threads. Currently, both Twitter and Threads have their pros and cons, so it’s hard to say which social network is better. All that to say, in its short existence, Threads has proven to be a viable alternative to Twitter, and there’s a good chance it’s only going to get better.
What do you think?