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Should Photographers be on Instagram Threads?

By this point you have probably heard about Meta launching Instagram Threads, a new social media platform that is a direct competitor to Twitter. Or, if you are one of the more than 100 million people who have already downloaded the app, you have already taken it for a spin.

instagram threads app for photographer and podcasters

If you haven’t, you are probably asking yourself is, “Do I really want to be on another social media app?” To be honest, the platform is giving very early Twitter vibes and even has a feeling like 90s and early 00s chat rooms in many ways.

Users are very energetic and excited. That’s always the case when there’s something new, right? To make your decision whether to invest a lot of time in this new platform, I put together a list of pros and cons. I go a little more in depth on these topics on a new episode of The Nerdy Photographer Podcast, but if you need to the quick run down, here it is:

[Pro] Built In Followership

One of the most genius bits about Instagram Threads as a platform is that when you use your Instagram handle to sign up for an account, you can choose to follow everyone you already follow or you can pick the individual accounts you want to follow. If the user doesn’t have an account on Threads yet, you will automatically follow them when they sign up.

This makes the sign up process feel a little more rewarding. You’re bound to get a certain percentage of your already established Instagram following and it doesn’t feel so much like you are building an entirely new following from scratch like you are when you sign up for other social media apps.

Be careful, though, you may realize there are some people who aren’t signing up to follow you right away.

[Con] What’s Happening With the Feed?

The feed on Threads is still finding its footing. First of all, it isn’t chronological. Second, it’s full of people you aren’t following.

I’m not sure how the algorithm is working at the moment. Some folks were saying it’s picking up on images you liked on Instagram and feeding you accounts that relate.

However, it seems like each day I am served a new group of accounts in my feed, 80% of which are not the accounts I am following. One day, my feed was full of brands. Another, it was full of rap and NBA accounts. You never know what you are going to get when you open up threads.

For some, that may be part of the excitement. If you want more control over your feed, you will need to make liberal use of the ‘mute’ and ‘block’ features, at least for now.

[Pro] The Photo Quality is Great

Images look VERY crisp on Threads. Twitter had one of the best resolutions on social media apps anyway, and Thread is easily an equal, if not better!

Also, you don’t have to crop anything. Whatever ratio your photo is in, it will post. Also, the carousel feature for multiple images is very smooth.

Will they eventually change the compression as millions and millions of images are getting shared? Possibly but for right now they are definitely ticking the image quality box for photographers and other visual creatives.

[Con] Censorship

Meta has a strict hand when it comes to censorship so far on Threads. Some words are not allowed, including common swear words. This raises some flags. While you can understand things like hate speech being banned, we don’t know what the lines are and what discourse on the platform is going to look like now or in the future.

[Pro] People are Interacting!

This is the time, at the launch of the app, while everyone is excited, to connect with and interact with people you maybe wouldn’t have a chance to otherwise – as well as strengthening the connections you already have.

Much like with Clubhouse when it launched during the pandemic, there is a ‘shiny new thing’ mentality and people are spending lots of time on the app. I made so many connections with other photographers and people in the industry through the first couple months on that app and I am hoping to do the same with Threads.

If you want to interact with someone, go comment on one of their threads. Start a conversation.

In this way, it does feel a lot like Twitter once was. People with huge followings engaging with people with smaller followings regularly. For the moment, the playing field is wide open.

[Pro Or Con?] Bare Bones Interface

Looking for trending topics? There aren’t any.

Want to use hashtags to search for a particular subject? They don’t work on this platform.

Analytics? There are none.

Looking to follow accounts that discuss certain topics? Discovery is limited to accounts that Threads serves up to you in an ‘accounts you may want to follow’ carousel.

For some people, basic is the thing. That’s what they’re looking for. That is all well and good but a little more functionality could probably be useful. Then again, it’s only been out for a week.

Thoughts on the Threads App and Some Advice

This platform is in its infancy and that is both a good and bad thing. It’s a little unhinged and maybe that is the energy we need right now. Just take this bit of advice, don’t go in there posting the same content you do on every other platform.

That is NOT going to work for you. Go in, have conversations with people, and have fun. Make connections. Every once in a while post some of your work. Don’t get too upset if you don’t get a lot of interaction right away. You might not be showing up in anyone’s feed, even though they are following you.

Speaking of following, while you are there be sure to follow me! Click here for the Nerdy Photographer Threads account. And you can also follow my photography account by clicking here.

Who knows how people will feel about Threads in a few weeks, but at the moment people are very excited.

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The Nerdy Photographer
The Nerdy Photographer

With more than a quarter century as a professional photographer, The Nerdy Photographer's goal is to spread knowledge and laughter throughout the photo industry. Please follow along on social media and subscribe to the podcast.

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