A roll of thread hanging in the sky against a beautiful blue sky

A tale of two emerging social media platforms

Bluesky wants journalists, Threads couldn't give a damn. Should we pay either any attention?

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

It’s been a wee while since I’ve actively checked in with any of the emerging Twitter competitors. But there’s news around both Bluesky and Threads that could be important for audience folks to know. So, let's check in with the would-be X-executioners…

Bluesky wants journalists

Bluesky is a Twitter alternative that has some serious credentials: Jack Dorsey, the cofounder of Twitter, has a significant investment in it. And, in theory, it will eventually be a federated system, so anybody could set up their own Bluesky-compatible server.

But we’re not there yet. For now, there’s just the main server — and it’s invite only. Invites have been rolling out slowly, with each existing member getting new ones every week or so.

However, the media can now skip the queue — if you have an audience or social media team, one of whom is already on Bluesky. From the Bluesky blog:

I’m part of a news organization and I’d like to distribute invites to my team. How can I do that? If you’re an audience editor, you can send us a note at press+teaminvites@blueskyweb.xyz with your Bluesky username and your requested number of invites.

They’re opening the door wide to journalists — but not to the general public. Well, not just yet, at least…

But not Threads

Meanwhile, Threads seems to be slowly attracting people. The Meta-owned Twitter clone, which is technically part of Instagram, is showing plenty of life, and some of my contacts have moved over there.

Post by @adders
View on Threads

But, to some people’s frustration, news is not spreading quickly through the network.

Jill Geisler, Bill Plante Chair in Leadership and Media Integrity, Loyola University, Chicago, put out a plea on the platform:

Post by @geisler_jill
View on Threads

Not everybody is as enthused by the idea, though. Some people think the media should stay well away. Early blogger and tech innovator Anil Dash for one:

I genuinely do not understand why people are desperate to see a company whose platforms have directly enabled genocide through amplification of propaganda get into disseminating more real-time information that is supposed to be credible. What would they have to do for news orgs to choose not to desperately beg them for promotion?

Journalist Ian Betteridge chimed in:

One of these days, I'm going to write about the publishers' complete inability to understand that Big Tech looks after itself and will throw them under a bus whenever it's convenient. See also their affiliate content strategies, which have maybe 3-5 years before all the revenue vanishes, because Bard/Copilot/OpenAI will just give you the answer and send you straight to a retailer.

No special favours for news on Threads

Well, while almost certainly not agreeing with Dash and Betteridge, Instagram’s boss is hardly rolling out the welcome wagon for news journalists on the platform. Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, explains the philosophy of news on the platform which is, basically, they're not encouraging it:

It means we won't do anything to get between people and content from accounts they follow, regardless of whether or not the content is news, but will won't proactively recommend news content to people who don't seek it out.

In other words, no intentional down-ranking of news on the platform to people who follow news accounts — but no special algorithmic boost, either. And his post suggests that they won’t recommend content they see as news to people who don’t follow the news account in question.

Meta's divorce from news is now complete.

The post-Twitter dilemma

So, where does that leave us?

  • Well, Bluesky is actively seeking journalists, but doesn’t have the wider audience — yet.
  • And any journalist is welcome to join Threads, but the platform isn’t going to make it easy at all to get significant reach there.


And so, for now, the advice remains the same as ever: have a presence on both platforms, experiment a little, but don't throw serious time at either until you get compelling evidence that your audience is there.

Adam Tinworth Twitter

Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.