Threads Review: How Meta’s New App Stacks Up Against Twitter

We, Brian X. Chen and Mike Isaac, both longtime tech journalists, were blown away last week when our editors tasked us with reviewing Meta’s new social network, Threads. I felt like I was.

We’ve both written about social networks for over a decade. For the last six of those years, the social media landscape has been largely static, with the exception of the rise of short-video app TikTok, dominated by Meta, which owns Instagram and Facebook.

The arrival of Threads, which was spun out of Instagram and intended to be the go-to place for public, real-time conversations, shakes up that scene. The new app could end up being trendy, but it could also pose a potential threat to Twitter, which has been the center of conversation for more than a decade.

But how many people will join the thread? One of us, Brian, casual Twitter userand another mic longtime twitter addictThis may impact your experience with Meta’s new app. Here are our findings on the pros and cons of Threads and whether it could become a part of your life.

Brian Hello Mike! It’s been a while since we did a joint review. Years ago we were obsessed with new releases for PlayStation and Xbox. And now we’re back together again—why again?

microphone Yes, I’m back again. This time, we take a closer look at the hottest social app out there, Threads, created by Meta. After playing with it for a few days, I’m starting to wonder if I could break my Twitter addiction by replacing it with a “friendlier” social network created by Meta head Mark Zuckerberg.

So far, I’m enjoying it. But it definitely feels like a stripped-down version of Twitter. There are no hashtags, which puts the burden on influencers. And the worst part is that many people in my replies don’t seem to understand my jokes, which are usually well-received on Twitter.

Brian, I’m afraid everyone coming to the thread from Instagram doesn’t know how to post.

Brian Well, that’s where it gets interesting. Threads is a clone of Twitter, but Meta brings the concept to non-tweeting users who have never used Instagram before. Therefore, there will be an awkward phase of adaptation.

But let’s go back for a minute. Threads is a free app that you can download from the Apple or Google app stores. To set it up, connect your Instagram account. Threads then invites all her friends on Instagram to follow.

From there, you’ll see a timeline of your posts and can create short notes that are visible to the public. You can embed photos, but like Twitter, the focus is on text.

What are the differences from Twitter that you immediately noticed?

microphone It’s like Twitter, but on easy mode.

First, Threads is algorithmically curated, just like Facebook and Instagram. This means that when you visit, you’ll see a ton of different interest-based posts, whether they were posted five hours ago or five minutes ago. (Posted or threaded? Got wording yet?)

This is very different from the Twitter we are used to, where the marquee feature is a reverse chronological timeline. In other words, Twitter has become essential for breaking news and live events because it shows all the posts of the people you follow in reverse order.

I think Threads is an intentional algorithmic curation on Instagram’s part. They say they want Threads to be “friendly” when people come in. It feels a little barren, but I don’t get exposed to hate speech or racist rants, which I consider a huge plus.

Brian For me, Meta’s interest-based algorithm is a big deal. As a result, my threads were now fed with a pile of posts from accounts I didn’t follow, mostly from influencers and brands promoting products. I rarely see posts from real friends.

Let’s be honest, Twitter’s timeline isn’t great either. Due to changes that affect what people read on the site, such as having to pay an $8/month subscription to Twitter Blue in order for your posts to appear on other people’s timelines, the quality is declining.

Another big difference between Threads and Twitter is that Threads has a character limit of 400 characters, while Twitter has a 280 character limit for free accounts.

Is it good to have more characters?

microphone i don’t think so. Simplicity is the spirit of wit, isn’t it? In my opinion, the shocking thing about tweets is their short form, not writing a blog post inside what should be a short message.

Twitter tested this paid Twitter Blue option that allows you to post very long tweets of 10,000 characters. I feel like it’s getting away from the original purpose of Twitter’s short message. But maybe I’m just being mean.

Just curious, how did Threads overlay your Twitter self with your Instagram followers?

It was a schizophrenic experience for me. Instagram and Twitter are completely different. On Instagram, I post things like the food I made that week and the concerts I recently attended. Twitter is more of a space for writing about work and the tech industry, but I do occasionally post snippets of my personal life. Threads feels like a hybrid of both, at least for now.

Brian I didn’t post much because I was having a hard time too. Like many people, I didn’t want my family photos to be seen by the public, so many years ago I switched Instagram to a private account. It became a “friends only” network.

Using Threads forces us to rethink what we share publicly. It’s a trip

microphone perfectly audible. I’m still going to try it, but do you think this will be the next big thing? Especially considering you’re slightly less active on Twitter than I am.

Brian I don’t bet on tech products like horses on horses. But according to my report on how everyday people who use technology but aren’t obsessed with it engage with social networks, they probably won’t post much in threads.

In fact, Twitter is not a social network and Threads is not a social network either. Both are broadcast platforms for big brands, celebrities, politicians and news outlets to share information with their followers.

This type of network doesn’t help how people actually interact in the community. In social clubs, people gather in small groups around common interests. They don’t huddle in giant conference rooms and yell like we do on Twitter and now on Threads.

microphone absolutely. I have a decent Twitter following and they pretty much know what they get from me and they understand when I’m joking. However, I fully realize that if my tweets go viral and go beyond the reach of those who know me, I will be 100 percent misunderstood and possibly insulted. We call it “context collapse”.

Brian Meta knows that too. You reported a few years ago that Mark Zuckerberg said people were increasingly moving from large social media platforms to smaller, siled networks. These included private his Facebook groups and messaging apps.

microphone The private Slack and Discord groups I participate in include only a few close friends.

Brian And it all makes sense. People have learned that sharing a lot of personal information in public is not a good idea.

Also, if I want to talk to you, why should I @ @ in public and not in messages? This is probably the biggest thing Threads lacks compared to Twitter (direct messaging), and currently Threads making it an inferior product. But that feature is already part of Instagram, so it’s only a matter of time before it gets added.

microphone I think there is a certain performative element to speaking in public. There, my conversation with you takes on a different tone and meaning. It’s like speaking in front of an audience on stage. There is something fun about it. However, it often becomes uninteresting very quickly. As you point out, messaging can help get around that.

Brian Text has already lost the battle when it comes to engaging with brands and influencers. The growing popularity of Reels on TikTok and Instagram is evidence that casual tech users, especially young people, would rather watch videos of the celebrities and influencers they follow than read bite-sized text. .

After all, Threads is part of Instagram, which is much larger than Twitter, so it’s hard to compare Twitter to Threads. With better features, due to the sheer size of Instagram, they may eventually switch from Twitter to Threads and gain more followers. (I @bxchen on thread,as a side note. ) but like everyone else, I probably won’t spend much time hanging out with friends there.

what about you?

microphone I now have the inconvenient juggling of trying to post different things to 6 different networks, and it’s not fun at all. But I do think that at least one day something will go away and I will be able to stop mass-posting. At least I hope so.

see you … on the threadi guess?

Brian Please follow me back first, Mike.

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