Create a Closer Connection with Threads from Instagram
By Melissa | Oct 7, 2019 (5 min read)
In 2019, when you have something interesting or exciting to share with the world, you have many options of how to share.
Thanks to the plethora of social media and instant messaging apps, you can overshare to your heart’s content. But for many users, the desire to share more privately has driven them towards messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
Instagram this week announced the launch of yet another option for sharing; this time with a close-knit group of people.
Threads from Instagram was released on October 3rd, 2019, and is an attempt to better connect with those closest to us. For many users of Instagram, one of the most important features is the direct messages (DMs) that allow you to chat with your friends and followers.
Instagram is describing the app as ‘a new camera-first messaging app that helps you stay connected to your close friends.’
Threads is essentially a mix between Facebook Messenger and Snapchat, giving users quick access to their camera, and the ability to share their status and stories in a more private, personal way.
The Next Evolution of DMs
At first look, the app is another iteration by Instagram’s parent company Facebook to capture more of the market from Snapchat. But, if Threads from Instagram takes off, it could potentially evolve direct messaging on Instagram.
Instagram added direct messaging (called Instagram Direct) in late 2013, and it became a massive part of the function of the app.
It soon spawned the phrase ‘sliding into the DMs’ to characterize taking your conversation to a more personal one-to-one level.
For most Instagram users, the DMs are a busy place. They are a place for business, dating, event planning, and making a one-to-one connection with those you discover via Instagram’s Explore feature.
But the problem with the DM feature on Instagram is the same as any other platform: spam. Anyone can attempt to send a message to anyone, and this can become annoying and overwhelming.
Stories and Status for Close Friends
Threads from Instagram is built around the Close Friends stories feature that Instagram launched last year.
Close Friends was Instagram’s attempt to shift the focus of the app from public to personal. The feature allowed users to broadcast their stories to a select group. The concept was to change the overall function of stories and make them more personal.
Some smart marketers and influencers used the Close Friends feature to their advantage by creating exclusive groups for stories.
Now Threads from Instagram attempts to meld the best of Direct Messaging with Close Friends. It also mimics some of the best features of Snapchat, such as the easily accessible camera.
Do You Need Another Instagram App?
Instagram is no longer just a single app. Similar to Facebook, it is becoming an ecosystem. The Instagram app has already spawned Boomerang, Layout, Hyperlapse (for design), and IGTV (for video content) as separate apps. Now with Threads, it is adding a fifth spinoff app.
But do you really need it?
At first, the Threads app seems like a waste of extra time, as you can accomplish much the same functions on Instagram itself.
However, upon closer inspection, it might be a way to reduce the noise and distraction of Instagram and allow more personal connection.
One of the benefits of Threads is that if you often message close friends via Instagram, you can now save time opening the app and going into the DM section. You can also share your status with close friends, allowing them a glimpse into your day.
The status feature harkens back to the days of Instant Messenger chat of the early 2000s when you could set your online status to whatever you wanted.
Today, because most of us are seemingly always online, this could become a new way to limit distractions. It could also give close friends and family a way to know what you are up to when you are not responding to messages.
It will be interesting to see how Threads from Instagram evolves the messaging functions of Instagram. Similar to the initial backlash against the Facebook messenger, having a standalone Instagram DM app may not make sense initially.
But eventually, it could change the way we interact with those closest to us.