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Meta Highlights the Key Development Points of Focus for Threads, as More Users Sign-Up to the New App

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Meta Confirms That Its Twitter-Like ‘Threads’ App Will Be Launched This Week

Meta’s Twitter clone Threads is now up to 106 million members, with its initial momentum slowing as behaviors start to normalize, and usage becomes a more indicative measure.

And we don’t have any usage stats as yet, with Meta still working to ensure the new platform keeps running – but Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has outlined some of the early development priorities for the app, which should see improvements rolling out very soon.

As per Mosseri, the key points of focus right now are:

Following feed

One of the key omissions from the initial Threads design is a feed populated only with posts from the profiles you’ve chosen to follow in the app – which means that, right now, you’re only option is to sift through a listing of updates from profiles that the basic Threads algorithm thinks you might like.

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This is also constructed based on your IG feed, so there’s an additional level of relevance, but users have been calling for a more specific feed, similar to the ‘For you’ versus ‘Following’ feed on Twitter. Mosseri says that this will be coming soon, with improvements shipping from this week.

At the same time, it would also be interesting to know whether this was an intentional decision.

Mosseri says that the Threads team felt like they needed to ship the app quickly, as the window was closing for a competitor app, but maybe, by forcing early users to see content from profiles they don’t already follow, as opposed to just building a feed of their existing IG connections (and seeing people replicate their Twitter follows in the app), that could help to expose people to more profiles that may be of interest, fueling more engagement.

Either way, this is coming, which will be a big addition for the app, bringing it into closer parity with Twitter.

Edit button

The much-debated edit button is coming to Threads, despite Twitter’s long-standing reluctance to add one.

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I mean, you do have a tweet editing option, of sorts, right now, if you’re a Twitter Blue subscriber. But Facebook and Instagram have offered post-editing for a long time, and Threads looks set to be more aligned with Meta’s approach on this front, with full post-editing to be enabled at some stage.

Which makes sense. Twitter’s concern is that by adding an edit button to its short messages, the context of the tweet can be significantly altered, which could be problematic for retweets, embeds, etc.

Threads, at 500 characters, are longer than tweets, and as noted, Meta’s offered post editing for years in its other apps, with minimal relative concerns on this front.

And a bonus – you won’t have to pay for it on Threads.

Post search

The Threads search option, right now, only lets you search for users – while there are no search tools at all on the current web app.

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That’ll be updated shortly, enabling broader utility and discovery, which could help users connect to conversations of interest, while also providing more ways to find relevant Threads insights on trending topics.

Mosseri hasn’t mentioned whether there’ll be a trending module, which might actually go against the broader ethos of the app, in avoiding political and news discussion (or at least, lessening its presence in-stream). But improved discovery is on the initial update list, which will make it a more functional platform.

Desktop app

Mosseri hasn’t provided any specific notes on when a fully-functional desktop version of the app is coming, but it’s another element on the to-do list – and a big one for social media managers.

Obviously, most of your management time is conducted via a desktop PC, and as such, the sooner that Threads can be added to desktop – and post-scheduling can be added to the API – the better in this respect.

Though when it is made available on desktop, that’ll likely see a lot more brands posting more often, which is maybe something Meta wants to avoid early on, at least until it has an optional ‘Following’ feed active.

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Still, it’s another key dot point on the development board. 

EU Access?

As we reported yesterday, Threads is not available to European users yet due to regulatory checks and balances relating to the new EU Digital Markets Act.

Meta has provided some additional insight on this, with Meta’s Deputy Chief Privacy Officer Rob Sherman explaining that:

“We would have liked to offer Threads in the EU at the same time as other markets, and the app does meet GDPR requirements today. But building this offering against the backdrop of other regulatory requirements that have not yet been clarified would potentially take a lot longer, and in the face of this uncertainty, we prioritized offering this new product to as many people as possible.”

In other words, Meta’s still working to ensure that the app meets all of the latest EU regulations before launch, which will take a little longer to tick off. So rather than wait to build these elements into the app now, it chose to launch it everywhere else first.

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As such, there’s still no timeline on when the app will be available in Europe as yet.

Deleting your account

Less of a coming update, and more a point of clarity, Mosseri has also explained that you can deactivate your Threads account without deleting your IG profile.

So the issue, as it stands, is that your Threads profile is connected to your IG account – so if you want to erase your presence entirely, you do have to delete both. But you can still deactivate your Threads account, if you choose, without getting rid of IG.

As Mosseri notes, this will also be addressed in a coming update.

The Threads team is also working on hashtags, voice notes, and photo and video tagging, while Meta’s also adding Branded Content tags, government-affiliated account labels, and fact-check markers, so the app meets its existing app specifications.

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In essence, the app you’re looking at right now is only the basics of what it will be – which is significant to note, considering that it already has so many users.

Or members. Instagram has exceeded its expectations in this regard, by making it so easy to sign-up, but the simplification of that process may also be juicing the figures, and we won’t know anything much on this till Meta reports its actual Threads usage and engagement stats.

But I suspect that, with these new additions coming in, it will stick, for a large portion of users. It’s a new, fresh take on Twitter’s traditional turf, and that, along with related affiliation to IG, which has over a billion users, may be all that Meta needs to make it a big success.

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

In a recent announcement, Snapchat revealed a groundbreaking update that challenges its traditional design ethos. The platform is experimenting with an option that allows users to defy the 24-hour auto-delete rule, a feature synonymous with Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging model.

The proposed change aims to introduce a “Never delete” option in messaging retention settings, aligning Snapchat more closely with conventional messaging apps. While this move may blur Snapchat’s distinctive selling point, Snap appears convinced of its necessity.

According to Snap, the decision stems from user feedback and a commitment to innovation based on user needs. The company aims to provide greater flexibility and control over conversations, catering to the preferences of its community.

Currently undergoing trials in select markets, the new feature empowers users to adjust retention settings on a conversation-by-conversation basis. Flexibility remains paramount, with participants able to modify settings within chats and receive in-chat notifications to ensure transparency.

Snapchat underscores that the default auto-delete feature will persist, reinforcing its design philosophy centered on ephemerality. However, with the app gaining traction as a primary messaging platform, the option offers users a means to preserve longer chat histories.

The update marks a pivotal moment for Snapchat, renowned for its disappearing message premise, especially popular among younger demographics. Retaining this focus has been pivotal to Snapchat’s identity, but the shift suggests a broader strategy aimed at diversifying its user base.

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This strategy may appeal particularly to older demographics, potentially extending Snapchat’s relevance as users age. By emulating features of conventional messaging platforms, Snapchat seeks to enhance its appeal and broaden its reach.

Yet, the introduction of message retention poses questions about Snapchat’s uniqueness. While addressing user demands, the risk of diluting Snapchat’s distinctiveness looms large.

As Snapchat ventures into uncharted territory, the outcome of this experiment remains uncertain. Will message retention propel Snapchat to new heights, or will it compromise the platform’s uniqueness?

Only time will tell.

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

While it is tempting to try to appeal to a broad audience, the founder of alcohol-free coaching service Just the Tonic, Sandra Parker, believes the best thing you can do for your business is focus on your niche. Here’s how she did just that.

When running a business, reaching out to as many clients as possible can be tempting. But it also risks making your marketing “too generic,” warns Sandra Parker, the founder of Just The Tonic Coaching.

“From the very start of my business, I knew exactly who I could help and who I couldn’t,” Parker told My Biggest Lessons.

Parker struggled with alcohol dependence as a young professional. Today, her business targets high-achieving individuals who face challenges similar to those she had early in her career.

“I understand their frustrations, I understand their fears, and I understand their coping mechanisms and the stories they’re telling themselves,” Parker said. “Because of that, I’m able to market very effectively, to speak in a language that they understand, and am able to reach them.” 

“I believe that it’s really important that you know exactly who your customer or your client is, and you target them, and you resist the temptation to make your marketing too generic to try and reach everyone,” she explained.

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“If you speak specifically to your target clients, you will reach them, and I believe that’s the way that you’re going to be more successful.

Watch the video for more of Sandra Parker’s biggest lessons.

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

Instagram’s testing out some new options to help spice up your live-streams in the app, with some live broadcasters now able to select a game that they can play with viewers in-stream.

As you can see in these example screens, posted by Ahmed Ghanem, some creators now have the option to play either “This or That”, a question and answer prompt that you can share with your viewers, or “Trivia”, to generate more engagement within your IG live-streams.

That could be a simple way to spark more conversation and interaction, which could then lead into further engagement opportunities from your live audience.

Meta’s been exploring more ways to make live-streaming a bigger consideration for IG creators, with a view to live-streams potentially catching on with more users.

That includes the gradual expansion of its “Stars” live-stream donation program, giving more creators in more regions a means to accept donations from live-stream viewers, while back in December, Instagram also added some new options to make it easier to go live using third-party tools via desktop PCs.

Live streaming has been a major shift in China, where shopping live-streams, in particular, have led to massive opportunities for streaming platforms. They haven’t caught on in the same way in Western regions, but as TikTok and YouTube look to push live-stream adoption, there is still a chance that they will become a much bigger element in future.

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Which is why IG is also trying to stay in touch, and add more ways for its creators to engage via streams. Live-stream games is another element within this, which could make this a better community-building, and potentially sales-driving option.

We’ve asked Instagram for more information on this test, and we’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

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