Is Threads the New Twitter (or now the new "X")

The Carbon Social Team

Threads, the new Twitter-like app from Meta, launched on July 5th, and we’ve spent the last few weeks trying out the flashy new platform. It has been billed as Zuckerberg’s answer to Twitter, finally adding a public, text-focused social feed app to their suite of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. But we all know the main reason for its development: to give advertisers a new “safe space” to reach Twitter’s news-hungry audiences minus the Elon Musk chaos. (If you haven’t been on the old platform in a bit, there have been a number of major changes that have affected advertisers directly, including a requirement that brands pay a large some of money to stay verified on the platform, and a noted rise in hate speech and conspiracy theories, leading to many advertisers to move on from a platform that was never really a AAA player in the digital ad space anyway.)

However, as shown by the previous mini-migrations to apps like BlueSky, Mastodon, and others, there is clearly an audience yearning for a new space and competition is always a good thing. You’d have to be living under a rock to miss Twitter’s challenges since Musk acquired it, including user and advertiser boycotts, fraudulent accounts, and brand safety – to name just a few. Now, in what can only be a desperate attempt to stop the bleeding, Musk just rebranded Twitter as X (yes, just “X”), and announced that it will become more than a 1-trick microblogging pony. Stay tuned for news and POVs on that hot mess…

For any user looking for the next best not-Twitter, and for advertisers looking to branch out with more social media options, there are definitely some great possibilities with this app. But there are also a few things to be wary of. Here’s what we’ve discovered so far:

Pros From a User Perspective

There’s Already A Ton Of People On There

One of the biggest hurdles in getting folks to mass migrate over to a brand new space is that it can be hard to get the ball rolling. You don’t want to be the only person to show up to a concert. Users want to know there’s already a party happening before they get there.

This is probably why Threads made accessing the new app incredibly easy – if you have an Instagram account you already have a login (“I don’t have enough logins to remember” said nobody ever!). Plus, you can follow all of the accounts you follow on Instagram en masse, and even pre-follow accounts that haven’t yet signed up for Threads. This means that later adopters might log in for the first time to find out they already have hundreds of followers on an app they’ve never used. This was a brilliant tactic to get tons of users quickly, and it worked – Threads instantly became one of the fastest growing apps ever, hitting 100 million users in 5 days. This also made it much more enticing to celebrities and influencers to join up right away, which helps grow the user base even more.

It’s Very Clean

Our first reaction to the app was how clean the user experience feels. There are no ads yet, so you aren’t bombarded with crypto scams every 5 tweets. It also has a much simpler look built around a familiar interface (hey, if it ain’t broke!). Photo carousels look great when scrolling through (unlike on Twitter, which requires you to tap into them to view). And while the lack of hashtag support has some people feeling lost, we find the missing pound signs to be a welcome change (the focus is actually on the text conversations now, and not trying to game the algorithm).

As for specific features, it remains to be seen whether users will really take advantage of the “threading” inherent in threads and pick posts on which to dive deep. More likely, they will comment and move on, the way they currently do in Instagram. But Meta has great experience with alerts that invite re-engagement, so the behavior here will be interesting to observe. (Taken to an extreme, will threaded discussions take over subreddits? Unlikely!)

Cons From a User Perspective

Threads Is A Privacy Nightmare

Facebook doesn’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to data privacy (how’s that for understatement of the year?) but this one really takes the cake. In an effort to cover all their bases, downloading the app on iOS requires an agreement to share basically any data you could possibly accumulate while using the app (why do they need our health data again?). In an age of blindly accepting cookies on every webpage, will the majority of users even notice or care? Probably not. But this will certainly turn a percentage of people off forever, and in the case of users in the EU, using the app might not ever be an option.

The Algorithm Isn’t “Good” Yet

If user engagement of TikTok is any indication, users actually LOVE it when you tailor their content as specifically to them as possible. Is it creepy that after a few videos it can learn all of your hobbies and dreams? Yes. But that’s why people keep coming back. The feed is “For You” after all!

With Threads, it’s a little disappointing that all of the data that Facebook has about us couldn’t be used more effectively to generate content we might actually want to look at. The first few days were extremely boring, with much of the content being engagement bait from random accounts nobodies ever heard of and brands announcing their presence on the app (sorry American Eagle, it’s not that interesting that you’re here too!). It’s also missing many UX features that could improve the experience (even Twitter has a separate feed just for chronological posts from your favorite accounts). Over time, the algorithm will improve, but this could definitely explain why, despite an incredible launch, engagement has fallen sharply. As Anthony Bartolacci, managing director at marketing data firm Sensor Tower, put it, Threads “will need a more compelling value proposition than simply ‘Twitter, but without Elon Musk'” to survive long term.

Of course, the pull of screen time can always have a dark side. Over time, social media algorithms inevitably learn to prioritize eyeballs, which typically leans more into polarizing content, fake news, and baiting. (In fact, Twitter has decided to simply embrace this by literally paying power users based on how engaging their posts are. So now that there’s a financial incentive to get people riled up, would you expect the quality of posts to go up or down?). The dearth of political muckraking on the new app has been a nice relief overall, but Threads will have to take steps to ensure it doesn’t create one more outrage machine that we will all hate-look at.

Pros From An Advertiser Perspective

No Ads Yet, But They’re Probably Coming Soon

While Threads does not yet feature ads functionality, we can expect that this is the whole reason Meta built the app in the first place. Twitter has seen an exodus of advertisers that are looking to put their dollars somewhere, and Facebook itself is seeing a lot more competition from TikTok, Pinterest, and even Reddit.

The potential for advertisers is huge here – brands will likely be able to simply choose Threads as a placement in Ads Manager and run Twitter-like ads without even changing anything about their strategy or signing up for a new business manager. You can imagine a future where you just give Facebook a bunch of assets (creative, copy, links, etc) and Meta will create and distribute the ads automatically to whatever platform and placement will work best for the objective (we’re basically already there!). In the meantime, as with other social platform launches, brands should build organic engagement to positively influence the algorithm, and they should analyze their best-performing Meta ads for hints at what to use as ad creative when the time comes. Need help with your organic and ad analysis strategies? Talk to us.

Cons From An Advertiser Perspective

Limited Global Reach

For brands that work internationally, Threads’ privacy concerns might make it much more difficult to reach a user base in Europe. And if we see larger adoption of privacy measures in the US, you could even be limited by state! One can imagine a situation where messages, ads, or links would need to be tailored to Montana or California specifically, which would be a huge nightmare. But for now, you can at least reach your targets in the USA.

Just Another “Thing” You Have To Think About 

While this finally feels like it could be the true Twitter alternative everyone was looking for, this creates an awkward situation for brands who may not have the bandwidth to keep up with yet another social app. Organic growth is still useful, but here’s the pickle: do you ditch Twitter in favor of Threads and take a chance on early adoption? Do you keep both and “wait and see?” How does your organic strategy change if you are running both Twitter and Threads at the same time? If you don’t give someone a unique reason to follow you in a new place and just repost the same content folks could easily find elsewhere, what’s the point? (See how Wendy’s and other brands were able to turn their Twitters into a “personality” that felt distinct from the corporate entity). In short, if you are a brand with the bandwidth to share genuine, interesting news and perspectives – Threads is indeed “another” platform you need to add to your content calendar. A few early tips to beleaguered community managers include posting Threads that are applicable to a broad audience (since new users seem to see a variety of brands’ posts), and remembering that like Twitter/X, posts with images and vertical video take up more space and get more attention.

Overall, Threads has shown early signs of success, and with the backing of Meta, stiff competition, and a quick gain of 100M users already, we’re likely to see Zuckerberg double down on Threads. It remains to be seen what the advertiser’s role will be here, but that’s where the dollars are after all! Want to discuss how to leverage Threads for your brand? Talk to us.

Santa is Real and I Can Prove It

Hi, my name is Elfie. I’m the Chief Elferating Officer (CEO) at Carbon. I bring gifts, joy, and cheerful announcements to the Carbon Crew and their clients throughout the year, which is a good break from the daily grind of the toy workshop. My Spotify Wrapped top song was Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” …played 5,500 times this year. All I really want are smaller ears and some earplugs. If you’re too busy doing last minute shopping and looking for the TLDR version, here it is, and don’t forget to leave cookies:

1. Seeing must be believing
2. If Santa can make you feel, he must be real.
3. If there is relevance, it can’t be by chance.

Anyhoo, every year this time of year two things are certain to happen. One, people around the globe will question if my boss is real, and two, I will get overserved at the company holiday party and get a talking to from the big man himself, which inherently proves number one. But since you weren’t there to see me do the Grinch Griddy on the dance floor, or karaoke the dirty version of Jingle Bells, let me help answer this question once and all for the rest of you, especially the non-believers.

How am I qualified to answer this question you ask? You probably didn’t know that I majored in Toy Making with a minor in Marketing, so I know my way around a wood router as much as I do Google Analytics, which comes in handy in forecasting how many of each toy to make based on search volume every year. What the fluff is a What the Fluff? I didn’t know either, but then I saw search volume exploding this year. If you are on Santa’s lap asking for this one make sure you enunciate! GA also tells me that there have been over 1 million searches for “Is Santa Real?” this year. The big man likes to walk around the workshop talking about quotas and yelling things like, “PUT THAT COOKIE DOWN! COOKIES ARE FOR CLOSERS!” so I know he’s real. But, let me break it down in more pragmatic terms for you, for goodness sake.

I posit that Santa is just as real as Apple, Nike, and Coke. I don’t get to use big words like ‘posit’ around here, so cut me some slack while I drop some effin elfin knowledge. Do you question that Apple, Nike, and Coke are real? While they all make tangible products you can hold in your hands, have you ever SEEN or TALKED to Apple, Nike, or Coke? I haven’t, but I’m just as aware of Santa Claus as I am of these brands, who all have over 90% brand awareness in the US. While Santa doesn’t need pre-post studies to confirm his cheeks are rosy, his brand is stronger than all three, and he lives in our minds as much as they do. Clearly, if Santa lives in our minds, and we can see him, he must be real. In fact, each of these brands has featured Santa in some of the best ads of all time, so seeing must be believing: Apple, Nike, and Coke. I don’t know about you, but it just got really dusty in here, which leads me to my next point.

I think even more than seeing, feeling is believing. I can still remember the amazement of my first iPhone and the iBeer app, where I could make it look like I was drinking Elf Nog on my phone. Or, the way I felt when I crossed the finish line of the Jingle Belfathon 1k in my fly-as-figgy-pudding Flyknit Nikes. No one will ever forget the year Rudolph mistakenly drank Coke instead of Reindeerade and overshot every landing by at least one rooftop. Do you have any memories that come to mind when you think of Santa? Coming down the stairs on Christmas Morning to find toys under the tree? Staring in awe as you sat on Santa’s lap sharing your wish list? Singing your favorite holiday songs? Taking a ride on the Polar Express? Do these memories make you feel anything? Nostalgic, happy, or longing for the days of yore? If the glove don’t fit, wait, I mean to say that, if Santa can make you feel, he must be real.

If you don’t believe me, let’s check with some other sources who have more authority than an elf who usually just checks NICE for every kid, without really looking. Let’s start with an executive branch of the U.S. Government. The United States Postal Office, the pre-eminent authority on mail, recognizes Santa as being real. How do I know this? Have you ever tried to mail a letter to Santa at the North Pole with proper postage? Did it get returned? Of course it didn’t, and there are over 30,000 letters a day to Santa this time of year! Don’t believe me, just give it a shot. Hat tip to one of the greatest holiday movies of all time, “Miracle on 34th Street” for the inspiration here…I believe, I believe, it’s silly but I believe. Let’s also check with Google, who is the authority on, well…search authority. If you search, “Is Santa real?” the very top piece of content on their global algorithm spits out this line: “According to historical records, Santa is real.” Google also operates the Santa Tracker every year, and I’m guessing you aren’t using Internet Explorer, so the leading company in defining search relevance on and directing you to the best content in the world agrees, which brings to my third and final point. If there is relevance, it can’t be by chance.

I know some day my kids will ask me the question. And I’ll show them this blog post. Yes, Grace and Chloe, Santa is real. He’s as real as he was when I was a kid years ago. He’s as real as he is today, making memories for us each year in our version of Christmas Town. He’s as real as he will be years from now when maybe you have kids of your own, and they have kids of their own, and he will still be putting toys under trees and spreading joy across the world. Christmas magic does exist, and if Santa lives in your heart and your mind, he will always be real.

Our New Facebook Flex: Carbon Is One Of The First Meta Certified Agencies

We’re proud to announce that Carbon is one of the very first Meta Certified agencies! In June 2022, Meta introduced a pilot certification program within the U.S. for their most trusted partners. Due to our historic performance, Carbon was one of the first digital agencies to gain access to this opportunity. 

In October 2022, Carbon earned a Media Meta Certification at the company level, meaning our business is recognized by Meta as having proven digital expertise through verified certifications. The Meta Certification requires a percentage of eligible employees to have studied and demonstrated success and detailed knowledge on Meta technologies.   

“We are honored to accept this exclusive recognition, which has only been possible because of the dedication that our social team has to our clients. Working directly with Meta and other social platforms, we are always excited to try out new tools and features and are excited about the future of social media advertising.” – Chris Rio, Social Media Supervisor  

Aside from our sparkly new trophy, what does this mean for Carbon? Certified companies are proven to demonstrate increased knowledge, build effective campaigns, and deliver high quality work. We offer our new and existing clients a higher caliber of expertise. Through a joint study with Kantar, Facebook found that: 

  • 79% of employers of certified employees say they produce higher quality work and make agencies more credible and innovative. 
  • 87% of certified individuals experienced improved knowledge. 
  • 53% of certified individuals experienced increased work efficiency.

We are honored to receive this accolade and look forward to transforming your business with this proficiency. Learn more about our approach to performance based social marketing at