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Updated: July 17, 2023 How To

How to transition from Twitter to Threads: A social media experiment

In 2023, technological innovation never stops. Case in point: Threads, the new social media platform launched by Meta. According to the company, Threads “offers a new, separate space for real-time updates and public conversations,” rivaling Elon Musk’s Twitter.

Tens of millions of people agree already. In recent weeks, Threads has picked up more than 100 million users, gaining customers faster than even ChatGPT, according to news reports.

Nancy Marshall
File photo
Nancy Marshall, founder and CEO of Marshall Communications

Whether you’re a Threads user or not, it’s worth asking: Is Threads worth it? Is it actually better than Twitter? What are the differences?

It was during the Fourth of July holiday week that Threads first appeared on my phone. I didn’t know what it was, but I’m a naturally curious and social person, so it was worth investigating. Before I knew it, “Nancy Marshall” was fully signed into the world’s latest social media platform. I’m a networker at heart!

Millions of people have defected from Twitter to embrace Threads, leaving Musk for Mark Zuckerberg. Some are so jaded by Musk’s leadership style that Threads is a welcome addition to Big Tech. But others, like me, are still keeping one foot in Twitter-land while making a foray into Threads-land, just to see which one resonates most.

If you’re curious like I am, my recommendation is to experiment endlessly. Test the waters. Run a cost-benefit analysis. Make a list of the advantages and disadvantages for each platform, crunch the proverbial numbers, and then decide which one is best. Don’t just assume.

Early on, it’s easy to see that Threads and Twitter are very different. Threads is closely related to Instagram, one of my favorite platforms. I enjoy the visual nature of Instagram, and Threads has the potential to be visual in a similar way, whereas Twitter is more text-dependent. The Instagram integration is ideal for loyal customers who don’t want to keep switching back and forth between Meta and Twitter, although Twitter’s robust community of influencers—especially serious ones in business, journalism, and other fields—is still extremely valuable.

One of my favorite aspects of Twitter is the large number of journalists on the platform, allowing you to read the news before watching it on TV or listening to the radio. It is (still) the best place to receive breaking news scoops. As a longtime public relations practitioner, I can also form relationships with reporters, editors, and other media personalities, liking their tweets, commenting on them, and sending the occasional direct message.

Sometimes, a direct message includes a formal pitch or an informal “suggestion” for a story, but not always. A Twitter DM is just a simple way to get seen. Threads, on the other hand, does not allow direct messaging—at least, not yet. Keep that in mind.

Side note: If you post a tweet on Twitter, I guess that you share a thread on Threads? I’m still learning the lingo.

That’s why we have to keep experimenting, as curious, social human beings. My only warning to people is to not become closed-off. Too often nowadays, we see the world as black and white—right or wrong, with no nuance in between.

Room for both platforms

Many people believe that they have to choose between Twitter and Threads, like you choose one road over the other to reach a final destination.But it's important to understand that the “Twitter versus Threads” choice is contrived. You don’t necessarily need to adopt “my way or the highway” thinking. Threads and Twitter bring unique audiences to the table, both of which are important to access. Each audience has its own way of communicating and influencing. Each is known for its distinct personality, and there are benefits to both.

Think about the differences between networking at a local Chamber of Commerce, the Elks Club or the Rotary. Each one “feels” different because each  attracts a different kind of person. But you can only understand the distinction by participating in each setting for a while, understanding who is going to show up or speak up.

Some people just stand by and listen. Others are more vocal. It’s the same way with a social network online—there are people who “lurk” and read what others are posting, and then you have the more outgoing crowd. We need both.

There is room for both Twitter and Threads in public discourse. It’s wrong to assume that the rise of one will inevitably lead to the downfall of the other. After all, McDonald’s and Burger King both exist, and they’re both doing just fine. There is a place for Dunkin’ and Starbucks. Even with the emergence of Threads, Twitter recently experienced its largest usage day since February, so it still can’t be ignored.

As you navigate the Twitter and Threads ecosystems, remember to keep an open mind. That’s what matters most in the end. Happy socializing.

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