Instagram‘s off-shoot app, Threads, is Meta’s answer to Twitter (now rebranded to "X" by Elon Musk).
Dubbed a "Twitter Killer," Threads amassed 100 million users in just five days. Among new Threads users are content creators; many also use Twitter to interact with their followers, build community, and network with other creators and brands.
So how are content creators adapting to the new Instagram Threads? How do they believe it compares to Twitter? I asked several content creators who are early adopters of Threads for their perspectives. Here's what they have to say.
How are content creators using Threads?
Content creator and cosplayer Kumar's use of Threads closely mirrors his strategy on Twitter. He posts videos, photos, random thoughts, and original Threads content.
"I post threads about what’s on my mind randomly — maybe it’ll be something I said as a tweet already or a one-off thought I had to post on Threads," he explains. "I’ll repost things I’ve seen on Threads from others that I like or relate to, but I’ll still definitely recycle my content and post new content on there as well."
Kumar says recycling his media on Threads can introduce his content to a new audience.
"It could potentially lead to a new set of eyes that didn’t get to see your content on your other platforms or could introduce people to you for the first time, and they can see what you’re about and what you create," he says.
So, does this mean most content creators use Threads as a "second Twitter"? Author, podcaster, and creator Jacque Aye says that's different from her approach.
"I don't think my approach to Threads will be the same," she says. "Twitter has more reach and an established vibe. [On Twitter], we're a bunch of strangers sharing opinions and chatting around the clock."
Aye notes her content travels farther on Twitter than on Threads, which makes sense considering Twitter's longevity and 396.5 million users.
"I feel like Threads is a bit more contained than Twitter," she explains. "With Twitter, I could reach one million people with a single tweet. I don't think the same is possible with Threads yet."
Threads' more insulated environment is partially because the platform is exclusive to Instagram users. The platform also gives new Threads users the option to import their followers from their Instagram as followers on Threads.
Additionally, the platform lacks hashtags, direct messaging, and a "For You" page — features available on Twitter that help creators push their content to new audiences.
Threads' ability to automatically transfer Instagram followers plays a role in how Aye uses the app.
"On Threads, my real-life friends, family, and Instagram followers are my audience," Aye says. "They don't know the 'me' on Twitter, so I'm a bit more tame on Threads."
However, Aye notes her Substack links are not reaching as many people on Twitter as her other content. Substack is the platform Aye uses to support her newsletters.
"So, I plan to share more of my Substack articles on Threads, compared to Twitter," she says.
Threads is still in its infancy, so many creators are still finding their footing on the app and deciding "who they are" on Threads compared to other platforms.
Content creator Jay Clouse of Creator Science sees the new landscape as a chance to experiment.
"Threads feels like an opportunity to show a different side of yourself," he says. "I don’t think there’s any 'right' voice or tone for Threads yet, but I don’t think it should mirror the tone of other platforms."
Like Kumar, Clouse uses Threads to share his thoughts, which may only sometimes be directly tied to his content.
"I’m approaching Threads much more as a place to share unpolished thoughts and real-time experiences – less declarative statements and platitudes," Clouse explains. "But there’s an important idea to remember: Your content on Threads (or anywhere else) needs to provide some form of value to the reader."
Clouse says it's tempting to publish unpolished, self-interest posts on Threads because, as humans, we love to talk about ourselves and our experiences.
However, he warns that while our thoughts can be exciting to ourselves, they may be uninteresting to anyone else.
Therefore, Clouse is strategic with his thoughts on Threads, often opting to post off-the-cuff content that is still helpful to his followers. For example, Clouse posted his take on entrepreneurs, marketers, and creators as a target market.
The post starts as a "hot take" but ends by advising his followers to target a larger audience.
How are creators thinking about branding and partnerships on Threads?
According to a study released by IZEA Worldwide Inc., 90% of active Threads users believe the app will be a good place for brands and influencers, and 54% of social media influencers have already posted sponsored content.
However, both Kumar and Aye say Threads isn‘t the platform they’d turn to for branding or partnership purposes.
"To be honest, I’m not sure if Threads is where I’ll be initially looking for those types of opportunities," Kumar says.
He explains, "I feel like companies would still look to promote those kinds of opportunities through already established apps like Twitter or Instagram or email an individual if they’re interested in partnering with creators for their brands."
Aye explains, "As someone who has worked with and paid creators, I'd still pay more for a sponsored Tweet than a Thread — but time will tell!"
However, Kumar thinks Threads is as good as any other social media app for building connections.
"But that’s not to say I don’t think you can’t network and meet new people, make new connections, and make new friends on Threads like any other social media app like Twitter or Instagram," he says.
What Content Creators Think of Threads
83.5% of social media influencers are open to monetizing their Threads posts, according to IZEA Worldwide Inc.
However, several apps like Hive, Mastodon, and Spill have popped up over the last several months to compete with Twitter, seemingly generating tons of buzz overnight before being swept aside for the next shiny new app.
So it's no surprise that while many creators and influencers are open to leveraging Threads for business, creators like Aye still need to be convinced of its potential.
When asked about leveraging Threads professionally, Aye says she'd rather wait to see how the platform progresses.
"I have limited time, and I'll keep pouring into apps I know will be around for a while. I've signed up for 3 or 4 apps that fizzled out, and I'm running out of space on my phone," she jokes.
Clouse says social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook had advantages for early adopters building their social network from the ground up.
"People joining Twitter had to find people to follow on Twitter," he explains, "so when new users joined Twitter, Twitter recommended all new users to follow certain profiles like Mark Hoppus, Ali Spagnola, or Michael Ian Black. That created an incredible advantage for those early adopters."
Threads doesn‘t have those same advantages, but that doesn’t mean there aren't perks, according to Clouse.
"The advantage of Threads is that you don’t need to build your network from scratch — it comes from Instagram," he says. "So, the opportunity seems biggest for users who already built a large following on Instagram."
YouTuber Jade Beason agrees.
"The decision to sync followers/following lists between Instagram and Threads accounts is super clever," she says. "This feature has helped new Threads users build a quick community, which is not always easy to achieve with other apps."
However, Beason notes more will need to be done on Meta‘s end to keep the Threads’ momentum going and retain users.
"Retention seems to be the biggest challenge for Threads at the moment," she says. "Reports indicate a drop of 70% since launch. Meta will need to find effective ways to continuously re-engage Threads users to ensure the app's long-term success."
We‘re only weeks into Threads’ existence, so it's hard to pinpoint if Threads is the app to dethrone Twitter.
Without private messaging, hashtags, or a concrete algorithm, creators could find it difficult to network, expand their reach, or promote their content.
With that said, the only way to navigate Threads is to relax, experiment, and keep an eye on the platform's improvement over time.
"This is the time to play around with innovative uses of the platform," according to Clouse.
He says the biggest winners will be creators willing to experiment to find a strategy that works.
"The risk, of course, is that the excitement dies down and fades into once-upon-a-time hype," he says. "I am actually more optimistic than that, though."