CATEGORY: Social mediaNewsPublic Sector

Will twitter unravel with Threads?

Will twitter unravel with Threads?

What is threads? 

Threads is a new app created by Mark Zuckerberg and is an extension of Instagram. It lets you share text updates and join public conversations much like Twitter. Simply log in using your Instagram account.  

You can post up to 500 characters, including links, photos, and videos up to 5 minutes long. It's a separate space for real-time updates and chats, whether you're a creator or a casual poster.  

What is the difference from between Threads and twitter? 

Both platforms let you share images, videos, GIFs, and links in posts. On Threads, you can share GIFs from your phone's gallery, while Twitter has a 240-character limit for basic accounts and up to 25,000 characters for Blue subscribers. Threads allows up to 10 items in a post, like Instagram, while Twitter allows only four. 

Threads and Twitter have similar interfaces. You can share your thoughts through text boxes and react to posts similarly. On Twitter, hashtags help reach more people, while Threads' posts go viral based on your friends' reactions. 

Twitter is its own platform with future plans to add more features. Threads heavily depends on Instagram, which helped it grow quickly to 100 million users, but it keeps users within a limited ecosystem. 


What are the privacy concerns with Threads? 

Privacy advocates and security researchers are worried that Threads collects a large amount of personal data, more than other social media apps, and much of it is unnecessary for the app to work as intended. 

Meta may face issues with Threads as it forces integration with Instagram. New users of Threads get an Instagram account created automatically, and existing Instagram users must permanently link the two. If you want to quit Threads, you'll have to delete your Instagram too, as deactivating Threads won't delete it entirely. 


How will threads change public sector comms?

We asked some of our friends and partners for their thoughts: 

"From a work perspective I will blatantly use the platforms which the data suggests gives the best chance of engagement and success. And be it TikTok or Threads I will use them, try to understand them, work out the pros and cons and decide where they fit into the wider comms mix. After all, it’s never good as comms people to put our heads in the sand and ignore new platforms, AI and all of the other bits of new tech available to us.

But we must also constantly remind ourselves that social media isn’t a silver bullet for anything - it never was and it never will be. We forget email, our websites, marketing and online advertising at our peril.

Whilst Twitter may be dying a slow death it does still have 15 years of maturity behind it. It’s still the breaking news channel and it’s where the media, our politicians and many of our opinion formers and trusted voices frequent. That may very well change - and quickly - if Twitter carries on doing dumb things but for now at least it still has a role for most public sector organisations as a customer services channel if nothing else.

We also need to remember that us comms folks are often early adopters and eagerly drawn to the bright, shiny new things. Our residents, patients and citizens aren’t all going to jump on board as quickly or at all.

For Threads I say try it, kick the tyres, have a play with it and keep a watching brief."

Darren Caveney, comms2point0 (You can read his full article on threads here)

“We work with public sector organisations on their digital advertising campaigns, so need to know whether Threads will work for their target audiences. As ads aren’t expected on the platform for around 4-5 months, this is obviously not possible right now! It’s also hard to judge it immediately as an organic platform as there are teething troubles identified by early users that need sorting out.  

“If and when advertising becomes available on Threads, it’s crucial Meta gives clarity on how the platform will collect and use data. Recently we questioned Meta directly on whether the data collected through Facebook campaign ads is being “scraped” by them to inform their own targeting. It should be siloed so only the campaign owners (in our case public sector organisations) can use it for their own retargeting. We’ve had to pause Facebook retargeting on our campaigns until we get an answer.”  

 Karen Pagett, Communications & Marketing Manager Can Digital

"I'm a little torn by Threads. On the one hand, many of us welcome an alternative to Twitter, since the platform shoved unkindness and lack of governance - and the results of that - under the free speech banner. Having said that, do we really need another social media platform? It's time-consuming to get to grips with, particularly for already overstretched public sector comms folk.  "Personally, I'm not loving the requirement to use the same Instagram account name.  

My insta activity is 100% non-work, while a microblogging platform like Threads or Twitter I use for more professional purposes - so "georgia_explores", which works perfectly well on instagram with my various travel and nature pics - doesn't quite translate across to Threads, for me at least. Perhaps in time that restriction will change, but until then the workaround is the creation of a destined to be dormant insta profile just to secure the GTComms account on Threads! "I'm interested to see how Threads develops, and remain optimistic it becomes a place of positive debate, accurate information and above all kindness... but we'll see!" 

Georgia Turner MCIPR: Georgia Turner Communications

Threads is interesting, and an exciting alternative if your council’s Twitter has recently got more clogged with spam and angriness (Thanks Elon). But my god, as if we didn't have enough on our plates as busy communication professionals!   

There are two approaches - and both are acceptable. A. Dive in, get to know it and see how you can create a connection that empowers citizens and amplifies the voice of local government. Before everyone is there, your voice is a little louder in the space, and you can contribute to making a positive place to be. B. Or lurk and learn for a while.  

Loads of us already struggle with workload and confidence wobbles as it is. If the thought of yet another platform is overwhelming just see how other are using it and don’t stress about adding more to your workload. When you believe it’s an important place to be, you can make the decision about what you will drop to make room for this new platform.  

Helen Reynolds: Chief Comms Creatives


The decision to engage with Threads varies, with some choosing to dive in and explore its potential benefits for empowering citizens and amplifying the voice of local government, while others opt to observe and learn before committing to its use.

Ultimately, Threads presents an intriguing alternative to existing social media platforms, offering unique features and opportunities for both personal and professional use. However, concerns about privacy and the integration with Instagram should be carefully considered by users before fully embracing the app. As the platform evolves and users adapt to its functionalities, it remains to be seen how Threads will shape the landscape of online communication and whether it can establish itself as a positive space for constructive debates, accurate information, and, above all, kindness.

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