Meta’s Twitter rival, Threads, has joined the league of apps looking to cash in on Twitter’s dwindling appeal. Threads allow users to share short text, photos, and video updates with followers. It’s similar to Twitter and could potentially be the microblogging platform that displaces it.
However, Threads still lacks some basic features that could make it even more competitive against Twitter. Here are six features that Threads should add to become a Twitter-killer.
One of Twitter’s most iconic features is the hashtag. Hashtags allow users to categorize their posts and make them discoverable by others interested in similar topics. If you wanted to learn more about a subject or event, you could just click on a related hashtag, scroll through tweets, and find the information you need.
Adding the hashtag feature to Threads would make it easy to find and join conversations about anything, from breaking news to memes to hobbies. Users could easily search for hashtags to engage with relevant content and find like-minded individuals.
Another feature that Twitter has that Threads does not is trends. Trends provide a real-time pulse of what is being talked about the most on Twitter at any given time. They can be based on location, interests, or global events. Trends also help you stay updated on what’s happening around you.
Threads need a similar feature to compete favorably with Twitter. Something with which users can keep tabs on what is happening around them.
3. Direct Messages
It’s hard to see an app as a Twitter rival without a direct messaging feature. Aside from supporting private conversations, DMs are a useful channel for sharing content with contacts online.
The only way to share a thread with a friend on the Threads app is to mention them in the replies. This doesn’t provide as much privacy and convenience as simply sharing a tweet with a friend does. Adding direct messages to Threads would help users connect more deeply with contacts and further cement Threads’ position as a viable Twitter alternative.
4. Live Audio
Another feature Threads need to match Twitter is live audio. Clubhouse gave the world a taste of it now users can’t have enough of it. Twitter’s live audio feature, Spaces, already has a dedicated tab on the homepage.
Adding an audio feature to Threads would empower users to create or join public or private rooms where they can talk about anything they want. Clubhouse launched live audio capabilities first, so Meta can’t be accused of copying Twitter if it does add the feature.
5. Allowing Sign-Ups From Non-Instagram Users
One of the biggest drawbacks of Threads is that it requires users to have an Instagram account to use it. This means that users who do not use Instagram or do not want to link their accounts cannot access Threads at all. Restricting sign-up to users with Instagram accounts limits Thread’s growth and potential user base. It also alienates users who don’t have Instagram accounts.
Implicitly, Threads is not the place to be if you’re looking for a fresh start on a new social media platform. Aside from requiring an Instagram account for sign-up, you cannot change your username or display name without changing it on Instagram.
6. Decoupling From Instagram
Thread in its current state is like what Facebook Messenger was in 2011—a mere extension of another app. The Threads app is too dependent on Instagram. You can’t use Threads without Instagram, and can’t customize your Threads experience without changing your Instagram settings. You can’t even delete your Threads account without deleting your Instagram account!
If Threads is a text extension of Instagram, then it’s perfect as it is. But if it’s to be a rival to Twitter, it needs to be decoupled from Instagram as much as possible as soon as possible.
Threads Is a Twitter Alternative That Needs Work
Threads has the best odds of becoming a viable Twitter alternative. However, it has some feature improvements to make. It lacks hashtags, trends, and direct messaging features. The heavy dependence on Instagram and its limited accessibility also hinder its competitiveness.
To succeed, Threads must prioritize adding essential features, allowing sign-ups without Instagram, and establishing independence from the Instagram platform.