[Updated] Opinion: Instagram's Threads easy sign-up is a great hack to gain quick numbers, but will they stay?
New updates are being added at the bottom of this story…….
Original story (published on July 6, 2023) follows:
Creating a new Twitter account will have you jumping through hoops. This is true for most platforms, including Meta’s Facebook and Instagram, among others. But the easy sign-up process for a Threads account is something new.
To set up a Twitter account, you have to first select your preferred languages, although you can skip this for later. And then fill out several forms with details of your name, email and date of birth.
Next, the account will need to be authenticated. To receive the authentication code, you have to complete a captcha test. It’s only after you enter the correct code that you can set up a password for the new account.
Last but not least, you have to add a profile picture and your @username. At this point, you are basically good to go bar some fine tuning, including personal notification and permission preferences.
The whole process should take about 10-15 minutes of your time or probably more for the less tech-savvy. But Instagram’s Threads app more than halves this entire sign-up process with an easy hack that is also turning out to be very shrewd.
This lengthy sign-up process can at times be a turn off for some people, which means new platforms often miss out on potential users due to reluctance to fill out forms and give out personal details to yet another platform.
While you’ll still be giving your personal info to yet another app, it won’t feel like it. This is because there’s no filling out new forms asking for your date of birth. Instead, everything gets lifted from Instagram to Threads.
If anything, it’s like sharing data between various departments of the same organization. And since you’ve already agreed to surrender this data to Instagram, you shouldn’t have any problem with Threads having it.
Threads has an easy and fast sign-up process
To join up your friends on Threads, it takes about 5 minutes and you should be good to go. You only need your Instagram details to create an account on the app.
There’s no need to think of a new @username since your Instagram username carries over. However, you can also opt to customize your profile for Threads. You can also mass follow the same people you do on Instagram.
This makes the whole transition to Threads a whole lot easier than anywhere else. In fact, this explains the huge surge in numbers over the past 10 or so hours since the app went live.
According to Mark Zuckerberg, 10 million people signed up in the first 7 hours after Threads went live. And some expect the figure to quickly rise to 100 million in the coming days.
But even with the easy sign-up process, the toughest task is always retaining and keeping the user base active for the long term, and it’ll be interesting to see how Threads handles the pressure.
A ready audience to interact with, but the same people from Instagram
For those who’ve been on Twitter, you know how hard getting a significant following can be. Threads aims to address this by letting you import your Instagram audience to Threads.
This way, you’ll have a ready audience to interact with once your account is set up. However, this also means you basically get to interact with the same people you already have on Instagram and nothing really new.
For an app that aims to be a Twitter killer, this doesn’t seem like it. Essentially, it comes out as a social media app tailored for Instagram users who find Twitter a tough nut to crack.
In the wake of the many changes Elon Musk has been making to Twitter, Threads also poses as a potential destination for disgruntled tweeps hoping to find solace in a platform that reminds of them of the good old days.
Ever since Elon took over Twitter, several companies have tried and arguably failed, among them Truth Social and Mastodon.
But as noted, unlike Threads, these platforms have a lengthy sign up process. And for other reasons, they have also failed to retain their user base after early signs of success.
Twitter thrives mostly on text-based content, but Elon has been adding support for other content like long-form videos.
Don’t get me wrong, but people on Instagram know how to use photos and videos to communicate better than those on Twitter.
That said, migrating people who are used to communicate mostly using media to a platform that wants to take on another that thrives on text-based content may be a tough asking for the long term.
No doubt more will keep signing up for Threads accounts. But retaining an active user base from this photogenic lot could be a challenge for Meta.
It could easily become just another photo and video sharing platform since it, for the most part, relies on the same people that make Instagram tick. But this is just me thinking aloud here.
Let non-Instagram users in
Threads is posing as a Twitter alternative, which basically means it aims to lure disgruntled Twitter users to the platform. However, unless you already have one, you must first create an Instagram account to join Threads.
This doesn’t sit well with me, especially having stayed off Instagram for years and even deactivated my account. I had to join Instagram in order to setup a Threads account, which is more than ludicrous.
So, unless the Threads owner intends to lock out disgruntled Twitter users who want nothing to do with Instagram, he may want to open the sign-up process beyond existing Instagram users so as to accommodate everyone.
But then again, Threads has the potential to surpass Twitter’s user base even if only half of current Instagram users joined the platform.
This should likely explain why the Zuck isn’t really concerned about non-Instagram users not having an option to sign up for a Threads account.
But hopefully, this will change at some point in future, allowing people to use their emails or even phone numbers to set up fresh accounts on the platform.
Do let us know your thoughts in the comments and poll below.
Update 1 (August 4, 2023)
04:18 pm (IST): Threads user count hits a new low as it is down 82% since launch as of July 31, according to Sensor Tower. More on that here.
Update 2 (October 27, 2023)
06:45 pm (IST): During Meta’s recent quarterly earnings call, Mark Zuckerberg revealed that ‘Threads’ presently has nearly 100 million monthly active users.
Even though the initial surge in the number of active users slowed down shortly after the launch, the platform experienced rapid growth over the past few months.
Meta claims that its goal is to turn Threads into a ‘billion-person public conversations app’ with a more positive atmosphere compared to competitors like Twitter.
Featured image: Instagram Blog
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