Way back in 2007 I was on the first day of the IT module of the now-defunct PG Diploma in Public Communications at what is now Leeds Trinity University. That’s when I first heard about Twitter. “It’s like Facebook, but only the status updates.”
So, a few months later I joined.
Over the years I’ve had several accounts (personal and professional), and managed several others. Everything from women’s football score updates to travel disruption via live-tweeting awards winners.
I still like Twitter, Yes, it’s full of the kind of people I wouldn’t piss on if they were on fire, but the basic idea behind the platform – short bursts of easy-to-digest information or thoughts, or bad jokes, is something I think we need. Especially if, like me, you used it to tweet everything from women’s football score updates to travel disruption via live-tweeting awards winners.
And now, we have Threads from Meta. Is it a “Twitter killer”?
No. Not yet, certainly.
Must try harder
One of Twitter’s unique selling points was that you could read tweets (and thus embed them on websites) without having to sign up to Twitter. Not only do you have to sign up to use Threads, you need an Instagram account first.
I found out quite by accident that I have an Instagram account a few years ago, presumably because I was on Facebook when they bought Instagram. This means my Threads handle is the same as my Instagram, which is different to my Twitter, which is the same as Facebook. And my email address is years out of date, and the password doesn’t work on the website (though it did with the Threads app). I’ve just spent half of the afternoon trying to sync Instagram with Facebook, and I don’t think I’ve succeeded.
That’s quite important for discovery. You need to know my Threads handle is garytaylorpr, whereas I’m GaryTaylor67 on Twitter. Note the capitals, too.
There isn’t an iPad-native app (yet), and if there’s a website version it’s not working as I write. That’s quite important for those of us with fat fingers.
I’m not at work, so I can’t see if we can connect Hootsuite to Threads. This is also quite important, for those of us who manage multiple accounts on multiple platforms.
Finally, and most annoyingly for me, I can only look at a world-wide feed, not solely the people or businesses I follow. If either of the three people I follow posts something on Threads, how will I know if it’s buried behind countless thousands of posts from people and businesses I don’t give a monkey’s about?
Why this is important
If Meta was some new start-up, I could understand. But it’s not. It’s got the people and server power to deliver a truly great Twitter-as-it-should-be product, and it hasn’t. It’s been hamstrung from the off. In that sense, it is no better than Twitter is right now – and in some areas, much worse.
I can’t even find the settings option easily! And having found them, there’s no option to stop videos from autoplaying.
Threads should be a Twitter killer. It isn’t.
These might seem minor quibbles for a Day One product, but it’s a product from a company that ought to know better, and which ought to do better.
I wouldn’t recommend it as part of a social media strategy right now as it’s just full of brands introducing themselves, and until there’s a filter for viewing threads from only those you follow it’s just noise. As a result, it lacks the immediacy that Twitter has as well.
In short, I don’t think Twitter has anything to worry about, for now. I’ll add Threads to the list of social media sites I’ve tried and put to the back of the proverbial desk draw (see also Foursquare).
As for Bluesky… still waiting for my name to make the top of the invitation list…