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Rob Stone
| 5TH JUL 2023

Zeno Thinks: New social media platform Threads launches this Thursday – here’s all you need to know 

Threads is Instagram’s timely answer to Twitter, designed to capitalise on Twitter’s recent challenges and provide a viable alternative social network. It launches on 3pm Thursday UK time and is already available for pre-order on the Apple App Store. 

 Here’s 5 key things you need to know: 

There’s no username goldrush – As the app is linked to Instagram it looks likely that you’ll just use your Instagram username on the service. If you run brand accounts on Instagram you should be able to use those on Threads. This integration also means that Threads has a ready-made audience, although as a text-based social platform it remains to be seen how much of Instagram’s visual-focused community will be keen to start engaging and creating content on the platform long term. 

Full functionality isn’t known yet – We’ve seen screenshots with a Twitter style dashboard and we know the focus is on text based conversation, but beyond that details on what other features might be available on the platform have been hard to come by. Expect some surprises – this is a very experienced team with a huge amount of data to inform what users want, need and use across all of its other platforms. 

It may be Apple only to start with – The app is set to be available on the iPhone and iPad, with it already making an appearance in the app store, but we don’t know yet when the app might be launched on Andriod devices. Expect to see a rapid launch schedule and a browser-based web version (see https://www.threads.net/) both come in quick succession post-launch. 

Threads uses ActivityPub – ActivityPub is a little-known open technology that many in the industry have been hailing as the future of interoperable social networks. We still have myriad apps and social feeds to keep an eye on and ActivityPub helps users create a single social graph to combine all of these in one feed. Think about how email is a single protocol where you can message someone on Yahoo Mail or Gmail from your Microsoft account without worrying about message format or compatibility. It’s already in use, most notably on another Twitter alternative Mastodon. 

Expect creators and public figures to be a part of the launch – Meta has significant pull and will be aware that the platform needs populating quickly with interesting people, great content and smart ways to engage people and get them to stick around. Platforms like Mastodon and Jack Dosey’s Bluesky do well when Twitter is down, rate limiting or otherwise not engaging users. That jump dies quickly though, so the biggest job Threads needs to do is provide that ‘stickiness’ that other twitter competitors have so far failed to do. 

It should be an interesting launch and brands will mostly need to adapt on the fly to whatever is released. Launching a new platform, even with the might of Meta behind it, it always going to be a challenge, especially when it’s billed as a direct competitor to one of the most successful social media sites out there. 

The team at Zeno will be reviewing the first day of launch later this week, so look out for our updates then!