I used Threads for 24 hours — what I love and hate about Instagram's Twitter challenger

(Image credit: Future)

I’m not one to embrace every new social media platform, but Threads doesn’t seem to me like just any new social media platform. Arriving at a time when many, including myself, are eager to explore the =, Threads could be the answer, and then some. 

Threads is a Instagram-connected, micro-blogging app that has reportedly amassed 60 million users (via Quiver Quantitative) since it went live at 7 p.m. ET on July 5. Anyone with an iOS or Android smartphone can now follow a simple set of steps to download Threads and set up and account.

A little more than 24 hours as a Threads user later, I’m surprised to see hundreds of my Instagram mutuals have joined me in making accounts and sharing around their Threads handles. Even friends who avoided Twitter seem to be trying out Threads, hinting to me that the “Instagram app” branding  — rather than Threads being pitched as a Meta or Facebook app — is paying off.

That said, as someone who is considering the pros and cons of Threads vs. Twitter due to recent changes to the Elon Musk-owned platform, I’m excited by what I’ve found on Threads. But there are some things I’m not as thrilled about, too. Here’s what I love and hate about Threads after using the newcomer app for an entire day.

What I love about Threads

Everyone is playing nice on Threads

Almost all of the content I’ve seen on Threads so far has been pretty mild. Dare I say it feels surface level? While social media platforms are notoriously riddled with negativity, trolls, and varying degrees of bullying, Threads has a “let’s be nice” vibe going on. In my feed, I’ve seen an abundance of puns, plenty of memes, a healthy dose of sarcastic quips and some shameless self-promotion. And that’s about it.

If I had to guess, the niceties won’t last forever. Available to users over the age of 12, the ignorance and insensitivity that riddles other apps is sure to make its way to Threads. The Threads Term of Use focuses more on data usage than fostering a safe online environment, though there’s a note about the terms supplementing the existing Instagram Community Guidelines. We’ll have to see how and whether those guidelines are enforced on Threads when needed.

Media carousels are my favorite feature

Threads images

(Image credit: Future)

The best thing about Threads so far is how posts with multiple media items are displayed. When you upload a group of photos and videos, they take the form of a horizontal carousel that you can swipe through without having to expand the post. You can upload up to 10 images and videos together, introducing an intuitive way to tell a story or share a moment with more than simple text.

I love sharing snapshots of my day, and I usually do so with the Instagram Stories features. Now, I might split some of these moments with Threads. Posting 10 Stories in a row can feel a bit spammy (that’s not to say I don’t do it), but posting a single thread with 10 images and videos is no less intensive than posting a thread with a single image. Either way, it’s a big upgrade from only sharing four images at a time on Twitter, and having to click on each one to actually get a decent look at them. 

Threads feels like an extension of Instagram

Up until now, I kept my Twitter persona and my Instagram persona separate. It’s not like I acted like a different person on each platform, but I definitely had distinct methodologies for posting. If you get it, you get it. 

But since Threads is tied to Instagram, I’m getting to share thoughts I would normally post on Twitter with some of my Instagram friends. I’ve been able to give a bit more context to what I share on Instagram with quick text posts on Threads. Now that my Threads handle (@348634) is displayed on my Instagram profile, I get to experiment with extending my Instagram presence to a new platform. To be clear, this is something I’m enjoying so far. 

What I dislike about Threads

How the heck is my feed organized?

The top complaint I have with Threads — and I know I’m not alone in this opinion — is that the feed organization feels like a hot mess. 

At first, I didn’t see any rhyme or reason as to what landed in my timeline. But as my first day with Threads went on and I started following more accounts, I realized that my feed accumulated not just posts from the people I follow but their interactions with other accounts as well. If they replied to a Thread, it would appear in my feed, even if the account who posted the original Thread isn’t of interest to me.

I want to be able to organize my feed in chronological order and only be fed Threads that originate from people I follow. If I felt that Threads understood my interests, I would possibly be OK with suggested posts, similar to my TikTok and Twitter “For You” timelines. For now, the only control option I have is to block accounts and mute specific words I don’t want to see. 

I can’t toggle between accounts

Compared to Threads’s feed problem, this qualm might come off as a bit niche, but I’m guessing there are people who feel this frustration, too. Currently, you can’t log into multiple Threads accounts at once. This makes no sense to me because on Instagram, you can easily switch between several accounts.

For anyone who has a business account, pet account, account where you share specific interests or simply a secondary account, you know that Instagram makes everything easy to manage. Threads, by comparison, forces you to log in and out of each account. I’ll probably just refrain from using Threads with my non-primary Instagram account, but I hope Meta eventually makes it easier.

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Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.