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What’s Special About Threads?

It’s been a week since Meta rolled out its new app for sharing text updates and joining public conversations. And even though over 100,000,000 users have joined in its brief existence, many are still trying to figure out how it fits into their current menu of social media offerings and use. I’m not ashamed to say that I love social media and was excited about the release of Threads!

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I understand the hesitation or anxiety a new app or platform can cause because it means another learning curve or thing to juggle. But with clear goals in mind and appropriate boundaries set, both new and old social media provides great potential for enhancing your life. 

The great thing about social media is that it allows us to connect and communicate with people we love and people we’ve never met regardless of our geographical boundaries. We can quickly share information and stay informed of events and news in real-time. 

Social media also gives us the opportunity to network with people within our interests, professions, or living area for connection, awareness, or activism. For many, social platforms are like a modern-day quilting circle, giving space for creative expression and connectivity.

And with all these users and groups connected and engaged, social media becomes a wonderful marketplace for promoting and consuming businesses, goods, and services. 

The functionality of Twitter has long been my personal favorite social media platform, so I was immediately curious to see how Threads measured up.

I downloaded the app and connected it to my personal Instagram account, which easily imported my Instagram account information. I’m user number 365890, which basically means I am the 365,890th person to join the platform.

A feature causing some minor concern is the inability to delete Threads without deleting your Instagram account. The great news is that a Meta privacy policy explains that you can deactivate your Threads account while keeping your Instagram account active. So, if you joined the rush to add Threads, but aren’t sure now how you would use it, you can simply deactivate it until you are ready.

In the same way, if you block someone on Instagram, it will block them from seeing you on Threads and vice-versa. Your privacy settings, however, can be uniquely different on each platform.

Other than that, here are answers to my three initial questions and what I like about Threads so far:

How is Threads different than Instagram?

This is a great question because it doesn’t feel terribly different. Sure, Threads leads with words, whereas Instagram leads with photos, but many content creators I follow are sharing the exact same content on both platforms. 

The first MAJOR difference is that you can use links on Threads, whereas Instagram requires the user to return to a link in the bio. Even then, once the user clicks on that link, there still may be a couple of steps before the user lands on the sought-after content. 

For both business operators and consumers this is a GAME CHANGER in ease of use. 

In the same vein, another major difference that doesn’t necessarily alter the experience of the user much is the absence of hashtags to follow or populate your feed. 

So how do I search for things I’m interested in? 

So far, it looks like your handle name and your name or business name will need to share whatever users are searching for. For example, on Instagram, you could search #dolphins #pensacola, and any content creator who’s shared an item that contains both of those hashtags would populate the search results. In this case, unless you have an Instagram Account with the handle containing the words “Pensacola” or “dolphins” or a business name with those two words, nothing with Pensacola dolphins will appear in the search. 

This is important to consider as you think about how you use Instagram and Threads to interact with users searching for something in a geographic area. Many consumers may not use Threads in this way at all and it may simply be a bonus platform for customers or followers who are already loyal to your business or page. 

How is Threads different than Twitter?

The two reasons I’ve liked Twitter are first, the ability to connect with users who are like-minded and engaging followers on particular topics; and second, users on Twitter have long provided eye-witness accounts and real-time information for natural disasters, emergencies, and time-sensitive news.

I personally never used Twitter to follow shops, destinations, restaurants, or entertainment. I do, however, use Instagram to follow content creators and brands in those categories.

In my opinion, Threads takes the best parts of Instagram and Twitter and combines them on a single platform, without replacing the desire for Instagram. It gives political, news, and opinion content that satisfies Twitter users, and the feel of Instagram for more visual-based content.

Although it is touted as a words-based platform, you have the option of posting media with your Threads post.

All creators can benefit from the use of links, giving users an immediate path to broader content or an immediate sale.

As we continue to use Threads, new and expanded functionality, and usefulness will be revealed. I think many quickly made an account, but are still evaluating how it will fit into their platform lineup in a way that is meaningful and adds value.

As with any social media, mindful and responsible use is the key to a beneficial experience. With a goal to “Tune Out The Noise,” in their introductory statement, maybe Threads will help your experience be a positive one.

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Dana is an Arkansas native and a seasonal resident of the Gulf Coast since childhood. She was a Pensacola resident for 13 years, before moving to Gulf Breeze. Dana attributes her Mayberry-esque childhood in Warren, Arkansas, as enormously influential in honing her definitely Southern style of storytelling. She earned a degree in Journalism, Advertising/Public Relations from the University of Arkansas (Woo Pig Sooie!). In addition to writing, she loves photography, art, adventures in the great outdoors, and spending time with her three children.