Threads – as with most platforms these days – is all about the content creator. Since starting to develop Threads, Instagram focused on creators – even more so, according to some creator managers, than when Instagram launched TikTok rival Reels in 2020. 

“This time around, it felt very supported and communicated and felt very ‘first access’ to creators,” compared to past launches, said Victoria Bachan, president at creator management company Whalar Talent. Creators “knew it was coming. No one was left in the dark. It’s something [Meta] did well here.”

Before launching IGTV (Instagram’s YouTube rival) back in the day and Reels in 2020 (heavily inspired by TikTok), Instagram invited its own creators to test out certain features. But this time with Threads, Instagram cast a net beyond its own platform’s A-listers, reaching out to long-time YouTubers and TikTok stars, as well public figures like British billionaire Richard Branson and singer Ellie Goulding to test out the app before launch.  

For example, Parker Pannell, a creator with 3.1 million followers on TikTok and nearly 200,000 on Instagram, said he had early access to Threads and could interact with other creators and Meta executives including CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Instagram chief Adam Mosseri during the period. “I remember seeing Zuck and he had under 3,000 followers,” Pannell said of the Meta CEO, who now has 3 million followers. “I loved it because it was a gateway for me to network with so many high-profile individuals.” 

It’s a smart move for Instagram to reach out to creators beyond its own home because with Threads, Meta has the opportunity to appeal to both creators who never got into Twitter, as well as to poach Twitter’s power users. One example would be Elona Karafin, a travel blogger with more than 200,000 Instagram followers, says she spends time reading tweets, but doesn’t post much herself. “Twitter requires a lot of time and a lot of posting, and the growth is very slow and stagnant,” she told me. On Threads, she’s already racked up 16,000 followers in the almost two weeks since it launched. That’s in part because Instagram asks users to log in with their Instagram account and automatically follow the accounts they already follow on Instagram. 

That isn’t to say that everyone will be won over but the new platform. “I don’t know if I can keep up with three [platforms],” she said. So far, she thinks the content isn’t as good on Threads, compared to Twitter. “I don’t love Threads,” said Jenn Takahashi, who runs the popular Twitter accounts @bestofnextdoor and @bestofdyingtwit, and started testing Twitter alternatives in part because she saw a rise in harassment and hate on Twitter since Musk’s takeover. She continued saying that Threads users are “not really getting online references, whereas if I were to post the same thing on Twitter it would get a lot more engagement because people there are more online and would know what I’m talking about. I’m not sure it’s a good fit for the very online tweeters.”

Another irony is that while Threads is prioritising creators in its creation, it still doesn’t offer a real way to offer some form of monetization for creators. The real question is how long users and creators are willing to stick around and pump content into somewhere that they’re not getting revenue from.   

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