Let’s talk “Threads” day 1! Threads is Instagram’s new Twitter-like text-based social media platform. I had heard surprisingly little about it so I was totally shocked when suddenly it was live yesterday. By the time I signed up at around 10PM or so, I was already around the 7.6 millionth account (you get a badge on your Instagram profile telling you this information, which can be turned off if you wish).
I have really enjoyed my initial foray there. And big kudos to having something like 10 million people sign up and the app remained functional if maybe a little sluggish, but it held up! There has been some confusion and weirdness but still pretty great for such a huge simultaneous launch.
The first thing I noticed after signing up was that there were a bunch of follow requests awaiting my approval, but then other ones were just automatic. As far as I can tell, any requests that came in before I signed up, I had to approve, but any that came in after I did not (since I have a public account anyone can follow). I wondered how really big account would deal with logging on for the first time and having a million follow requests to approve, since I imagine most people do what I did which was the one-click “follow everyone I follow on Instagram” option.
I’ve really enjoyed the people I’ve seen there. At least in these golden early hours, it seems like a lot of really cool fun people with a really enjoyable atmosphere. Now the developers have made it clear that this is still in the very early stages with bare bones features so there will be a lot more coming. For example, at the moment you have a single “Home” feed. It’s algorithmic and there’s no way to choose “chronological” or “Just see people I’m following.” You will see lots of folks you aren’t following. There IS a setting however, if you dig into profile (bottom right)>settings (top right)>notifications>Threads and replies where you can set “First threads” to “From people you follow” instead of the default “from everyone.”
While normally I am big fan of the “People I follow, in chronological order” feed, I actually found myself enjoying the algorithmic feed and discovering cool, fun, new people to play with. I was surprised how much I liked it as my gut instinct was “Nope, hope they fix that soon.”
At the moment there’s no hashtags, no thread search (you can only search for people), no DMs, no edit post function (probably my #1 complaint), and a lot of other missing functions that I’m sure will come. Still, from what I’ve seen it seems very well received for the most part with people posting about how addicted they already are and how much fun they’re having.
Another common complaint is that by default the app vibrates every time a new notification comes in if you have the app open and are using it though it’s not obvious why it’s vibrating. I have notifications completely off on my iPhone for the app and it still does this. The only solution I found to go to profile>notifications and turn on the “Pause all” option which will only let you pause for up to 8 hours at a time.
When I logged on this morning, I found that weirdly I couldn’t see any notifications or replies that were more than few hours old, which I imagine has to be a glitch. I easily imported my IG profile info, and my verification transferred over as well. A few concerns that have been raised are that the app does ask for a lot of data permissions which makes privacy police VERY uncomfortable. Also once you sign up, you cannot delete your Threads account without also deleting your Instagram account. They are (at least for now) irrevocably linked.
Will Threads be the new “Twitter” over the trash fire that is now Elon’s abomination, as well as over BlueSky (which seemed to me to have the most interest), or Mastodon (which has not had a hugely wide adoption sadly)? Only time will tell, but if I was a betting man, I think I’d put my money on Threads. Why? First and foremost, people hate change. They want the path of least resistance and Threads offers that for anyone who is already in Instagram, which is a whole lotta people. While I personally found Mastodon not all that complicated, it just just different enough to put a whole lot of people off. They don’t understand “instances” or exactly where they should sign up or what that even means. BlueSky is still invitation only so most folks are still just waiting for their chance to get in and even try it (it’s also still in the very early beta phase). It’s supposedly going to connect to the decentralized Fediverse (if that’s meaningless gobbledegook to you, you are not alone, it’s still a very new and confusing to most), just like Mastodon and BlueSky. And admittedly it was very nice to just be able to auto-follow everyone I follow on IG, and already accrue almost 3K followers on a brand new platform, I’m guessing because of many of my 89K IG followers using that “auto-follow” option.
At the moment, it’s definitely a fun new toy that has a very enjoyable vibe. I’m definitely very interested to see how it all shakes out in the long term.