7 hours. That’s all it took for Meta’s Threads app to break the 10 million user mark since launching on 6th July 2023. To give you some context about how impressive this figure is, Facebook took 852 days to reach this milestone and it took Meta’s rival Twitter 780 days.
A little over 24 hours after Threads launched, Meta’s newest app had secured over 55 million users and to date, the app has over 114 million users. Many attribute the app’s success to Elon Musk’s volatile leadership of Twitter as users try to keep up with the controversial changes that have taken place on the popular social media platform.
While the success of Meta’s Threads app can be attributed in part to its rival’s unpredictability, the app’s success in the coming months and even years will depend on the user experience and whether building a following on a new app will be worth making the jump from one platform to another or adding another app to an already crowded social media landscape.
Now that Threads has launched and users and critics have had their chance to explore the most popular features of Twitter’s rival, let’s take a closer look at the app, how it rivals its counterpart, and whether it poses a viable threat to the 17-year-old social media veteran.
Controlling your feed
When it comes to content discovery the experience so far has been quite different on the two platforms. Twitter gives users the flexibility to curate the content they see on their feeds. You can either select the ‘For you’ feed that gives you a mixture of posts from the accounts that you follow and posts that are suggested for you, or you can opt for the ‘Following’ feed that will limit the posts to the accounts you follow.
Meta’s Threads app on the other hand gives you a single feed that gives you a mixture of trending posts and content from the accounts you follow. The only way to control your feed is by blocking certain accounts or muting words—and yes, both these options are available on Twitter.
Whatever the cosmetic changes that Threads and Twitter boast, at the core they’re both platforms that share short messages other users can view, share, and engage with. The glaring difference between the two is the length of the message with Twitter offering a meagre 280 characters while Threads ups their limit to 500.
While many may find this an enticing feature, it may not be a complete game-changer for users who have mastered the art of creating short messages.
Website & app vs. app only
When Twitter first started it launched as a website—of course, this was well before the first iPhone was in existence. Over the years the app has adapted to app-based versions and is available on iOS and Android while still maintaining the website for users who want to have the flexibility of accessing their feeds and accounts.
Threads is currently just app-based and available on both iOS and Android making it an exclusively mobile experience. Whether this is an intentional step or whether the desktop version is on its way is yet to be seen but in a world that’s dominated by mobile devices the lack of a desktop version isn’t something that would cause a stir.
Plus, it could also mean that Meta is simply dedicating all its resources to the Threads app to ensure that users get the best possible experience—especially if they want users to abandon one social media app for theirs.
Now that the world has had a good minute to check out Threads, you would have noticed that some accounts have the blue tick, and yes, this means that the account is indeed verified. The verifications carry over from Instagram to Threads, so you don’t have to worry about getting verified. But if you’re not already verified on Instagram, you will have to pay a monthly subscription for Meta Verified to get the verification badge.
Twitter’s verification used to be similar to Instagram’s, where you meet the verification guidelines and you get a shiny new blue tick next to your name. However, today this has changed, and users need to purchase a verification badge through a Twitter Blue subscription.
The main difference here is in the pricing, where Twitter’s verification costs £8.00, while Instagram’s verification is £14.99 per month. However, keep in mind that since Instagram’s verification carries over to Threads, you’re essentially paying for two accounts.
Meta’s Threads app—Does it have the momentum to overtake Twitter?
Well, there are signs that Elon Musk certainly thinks so.
Following its record-breaking launch Meta has already been challenged on the legality of the app and threats of a potential showdown in court, but the question remains—can Threads be a worthy adversary to Twitter?
It certainly seems so with the record number of users that are flocking to the platform. While there is a chance that the hype of the launch drove many users to try out the new app, especially since it can be easily set up with one click that syncs your IG account with the Threads account, the ability for Meta to sustain this momentum is yet to be seen.
So far many users have made their opinions known as they find little to no differences between the two platforms and some may even deactivate (did we mention that you can’t delete your Threads account without deleting your IG account?) their Threads app if they don’t see an upside to leaving a Twitter account that they have worked hard to grow and start from scratch.
To switch or not to switch?
While the future looks promising based on the trajectory the Threads app has been on since its first 24 hours of launching, it may not be a bad move to hold on to your Twitter account. While Threads has gained some traction, Twitter is holding steady. Plus, there’s nothing preventing you from having both—although this may create some additional work for social media management pros.
If Threads stays on top of its user’s feedback and makes some notable changes that add more value to the user experience it could create a much better version of its counterpart.
Our advice? Stay put. There’s no rule preventing you from having a presence on both platforms, but if you’re looking to make the switch then give it some time. Don’t let the excitement of the first 24 hours of a launch derail what you’ve built over the course of a few years.