Tech & The Web

My First Week on Meta’s New Threads Platform

Deposit Photos

After spending my first week on the new Threads platform and comparing it with other alternatives, here’s my take on what I’ve seen.

After seven full days of prodding and poking the new Threads platform, I can give it a positive grade so far. But it’s still early, especially if you try to determine whether it might replace Twitter.

It didn’t make its debut on the night of July 5 as perfect. There were several key features most of us are used to on other platforms that Threads didn’t have. Hashtags, for instance, a quick and easy way to search for topics like grammar or blogging, were neither clickable nor searchable. You can’t schedule posts to go up at a later time. You can’t send private messages.

Those are just a few of the things people complained about.

That’s part of the problem with social media. For the most part, it’s all complaining, all the time. No matter how good, how pleasant, how much better something may seem off the bat, someone’s always looking to bitch about something.

Before I get too deep into my take on Threads vs. Twitter (and anyone else), I should add one important note. I’m not looking to leave any platform. Part of my real job involves social media. I couldn’t leave Twitter if I wanted to — though the thought does, at times, seem appealing. So it’s not so much that I’m looking to replace it.

As much of a mess as I think Twitter has become, I’m not looking forward to seeing it die. Others seem hopeful that it will.

It has served a good purpose — at least until it became so user-unfriendly. But if I find something better, I’m much more apt to focus my attention there instead.

What I’m not looking for: A Twitter ‘clone’

The “chief poster” at Post Social, another social media network some bill as another Twitter “alternative” left his thoughts on Threads. As you might expect, he prefers his own platform. Shocker!

“Right now we see Twitter users migrate from one app to the next in an attempt to recreate Twitter, only to go back to the ‘OG’ Twitter which is the closest thing to what they are looking for,” Noam Bardin wrote.

He said he thinks people will eventually “settle down and choose among different platforms based on their preferences.” He says he doesn’t expect any one winner in the Twitter takedown war. Instead, he predicted “different platforms for different needs.”

What I see among a handful of folks on individual platforms, at least one of which who reposted Bardin’s thoughts, is a little arrogance over their new platform of choice.

For the record, I’m not trying to find a clone of Twitter. I certainly didn’t join the Threads platform to try to replicate the original Twitter. Twitter had problems from day one. Every platform has problems from day one.

That’s normal.

What I’m eager to see is how quickly and how well they tackle those problems. I’m hoping they will add features users expect quickly while not letting what they already have go to pot.

Time will tell.

How do the rank for interaction and growing your profile?

Unfortunately, there’s no simple apples-to-apples comparison here. Twitter has been around a long time and has a lot of users. Threads, on the other hand, has Instagram’s base to work from, so it suddenly starts off with a lot of users who are joining from their Instagram accounts.

But because you have the option to follow those on Threads whom you already follow on Instagram, you can build an audience faster on Threads.

I’ve been on Twitter now for almost 15 years. I joined that platform in November of 2008. In those nearly 15 years, I’ve build a following on Twitter of 3,473, as of this past weekend. If you average followers over 15 years, you come up with about 230 per year.

TwitterNov. 20083,474
ThreadsJuly 2023131
PostJan. 202321
MastodonFeb. 20239

I’ve been on Threads for a week now. In that amount of time, I’ve built up 131 followers. That’s more than half of the average yearly growth on Twitter in a week. Again, it’s not a truly equal or fair comparison. But it at least illustrates how quickly one can at least start growing a base on Threads.

For comparison, I joined Post Social in January. Since then, I’ve only built up 21 followers. I joined Mastodon in February. I have nine followers. Of those two, I prefer Post because it seems friendlier and a little easier to navigate. But you can see how much slower building a following is there.

5 things I’d most like to see added to the new Threads platform

Sure, we all have our wishlists every time something new comes along. We’re almost seasoned to start looking for the negative right away.

At the same time, it feels like Threads launched like a department store with several key sections still roped off. If I’m going to go to the store, I want the whole store to be there. I’m glad the store’s open and I’m browsing plenty of nifty stuff. But there are a few departments I’m ready to spend some time in and they’re not there, yet.

Here are five things I really really want to see sooner rather than later!

1. A desktop version

Seriously, they desperately need a desktop version for Threads. Even Instagram offers a desktop alternative. Having a desktop version makes sharing links you want to talk about much easier. For bloggers, it makes sharing your own posts a lot easier as well.

You can also browse and respond easier — particularly if you have fat fingers that make typing on those little smartphones a challenge.

2. Hashtags

Make hashtags clickable and searchable. If I want to read or see posts about a specific topic, hashtags help me find that topic faster. At the moment, the only thing you can really search for is usernames, which is fine if a username happens to have that topic in it. But if not, you face a challenge in finding specific content.

3. A more robust search

On the heels of having clickable hashtags, it needs a more robust search. If I want to find a post on a grammar topic, I’d like to search for a #grammar hashtag. But if I’m specifically trying to find posts on the difference between, say, every day and everyday, I’d like to be able to find a post on that specific topic. That would require a more robust search option than just being able to hunt for specific hashtags.

4. Private Messages

Since some of my followers (and followees) come from my existing Instagram account, it would be nice to be able to send them a private hello. Of course, since not all of my followers come from there, Threads might be the only place where I could potentially message them. Alas, at the moment, no such messaging option exists.

5. Scheduling posts

There are multiple social media management tools out there to allow you to schedule posts on Twitter. Even its own Tweetdeck, which they just improved and then announced that in 30 days, you’d have to subscribe to be able to use it (another example of poor customer service), allows you to schedule tweets in advance.

Mastodon has introduced a scheduling option and a couple of social media management tools have it. Neither Post nor Threads have the option so far. It would be great to be able to schedule a few posts in advance from time to time. For bloggers, it’d be great to be able to schedule a link to a new post at times when your readers are more likely to click. Unfortunately, some of us who have a real job aren’t always available to play on our own social media at such a moment.

It’d be great if you were able to be all places at all times. We can’t. No one can. (Well, I take that back. Those rare few who have an endless amount of money because they make six-digit incomes monthly on their websites might be able to be all places at all times.) For the rest of us, a scheduling option would be fantastic.

I can’t give the new Threads platform a true grade just yet

When Threads came online, it had a strong foundation. But several key frills — so key that they’re more like basics — are missing. I can’t award Threads an A just yet. But it certainly doesn’t deserve a failing grade, either.

If I had to assign a letter grade, I supposed it’d be something like a B-, but I don’t think it’s fair to do so. For now, just a week in, I’d have to give it an incomplete. But I’m cautiously optimistic that it’ll work out the kinks and roll out useful features quickly now that the initial rollout is done.

For the record, the way Twitter has been working and changing over the past few months, I would give it closer to a D. And unfortunately, I don’t see that improving any time soon.

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.