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  • Writer's pictureDenis Sinelnikov

Threads vs. X (Twitter): What You Should Know

In early July, everyone's news feeds were filled with the same thing: Twitter (now X) had a new rival. Threads was finally going to hammer the nail in the coffin of the controversy-embattled Twitter. Now, we're a month into the launch of Threads, and Twitter has rebranded to X. Let's look at where we are and where these platforms may be headed.

What Is Threads?

In case you missed the blast Meta pushed across news networks in July; Threads is a new social media platform built from Instagram. It has the same feel as classic Twitter, with short messaging feeds and the ability to comment and interact on threads with users. As part of Meta, Threads integrates directly with Instagram. So, if you're already an Instagram user (as most Millennials and Gen Z are), getting onto the platform is easy.

Threads positioned itself as the alternative to Twitter, citing the dissatisfaction of many users and brands over the decisions of Twitter's new owner, Elon Musk, and lessened moderation on the site. A month in, it's still too early to say if the site will be a success. While user counts fell at the beginning of August, that doesn't mean the site is doomed. Even Twitter grew in fits and starts, with people declaring year after year that the site was declining or dying out, even as its core user base remained strong.

What's With the X Rebrand?

In late July, Twitter began its rebranding process to X. The change appeared, to many users, to come out of nowhere and hasn't been widely well-received. Adding to the impression that the change was unplanned or rushed, Elon himself requested logo ideas from Twitter followers. Many users on X still continue to call the site Twitter. For its part, X itself seemed slow to catch up to the rebrand, with many of its features still displaying aspects of the old Twitter brand.

As of August 13, 2023, the X-Anniversary message users received still said "Tweet this," even though officially X had moved away from calling posts "Tweets" or referring to the action as "Tweeting."

While the change may appear to have been a fast decision, it's not without precedent on the part of Elon Musk. X has long been associated with the billionaire businessman. Reportedly, the rebrand marks the beginning of a long-planned change for the platform, turning it from a simple social media platform to an "everything app" that will include financial transactions and other features.

What the Rebrand Means for the Future of X and Threads

While several news outlets and thinkers have challenged the wisdom of the rebrand from Twitter to X, considering the affection Elon Musk has for the brand name, it's unlikely to change back. It's also too soon to declare if it is a good or bad decision, ultimately. However, the change does mark a good time for companies to decide if and how they want to continue to interact with the platform.

One of the early struggles we have seen for Threads is that it wasn't "enough like Twitter" for the most ardent Twitter users to make the switch to it. Even for those users who have created Threads accounts, many of them haven't had the incentive to drop X for the new platform. They're simply too used to the X/Twitter platform and its features.

With the rebranding and the changes to come, however, that could change. Threads and other "Twitter replacement" platforms like BlueSky may see an uptick in users again for one simple reason: X is about to become less Twitter-like. By necessity, in adding new features, the X platform will have to change in form and function. For users who have stayed with the platform merely for its familiarity, those changes may be the last straw, especially since many of the users aren't enthusiastic about the changes.

While I don't see the change to an "everything app" destroying Twitter, I do see it creating an opportunity for growth for these other platforms. For brands, that means exploring sites like Threads to see what they may offer. Threads, in particular, because it is part of the Meta family and linked to Instagram, presents an opportunity for brands to enter the platform while it is growing and building a following.

This may not be the end for X, but it can be a new beginning for Threads. Because it is still relatively new and users are still building their follower/following relationships, brands have a chance to grow with the platform. For those concerned about the current volatility of X, it is a welcome change.


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