When Instagram started out it was a simple photo-sharing app, which helped it rise to popularity very quickly. After it was acquired by Facebook, it started adding features found in other popular social sharing apps like Snapchat like filters and stories.
As Instagram gained in popularity, the circle of people you are sharing content with grew. You started following various acquaintances as you did on Facebook, but with limited time in our lives, it started to get difficult to really pay attention to the people you actually want to see content from.
Earlier this year Instagram introduced “close friends” as a way to quickly share content about your life with close friends and family in your life. This would be the place where you can share personal information about your day without fear that the data would get into the wrong hands. You could share what happened at your child’s school, or the tough day you had.
Instagram is taking the “close friends” feature a step further in the release of a new app called Threads. The app can put shortcuts directly within your camera to eliminate a lot of extra steps and allow you to share right away with the people who matter most to you.
Threads also introduces a status icon that goes on your profile pic that explains what is going on in your life at that moment. From “At Work” to “Chillin” at home, it can be easy for friends to know that you are available to chat, or if you are busy doing something else. These statuses can change automatically if you request it.
Threads uses the direct messaging already built into Instagram, so if your friend doesn’t use Threads, it doesn’t matter, the messages will show up just like a regular DM inside the Instagram app. The app’s camera does not have filters but does allow you to draw or write on the image before you send it. Then you are given the option to keep the video or image forever, have it vanish after you send it or have it play on repeat like a gif.
Obviously, for parents, the disappearing photos are a huge concern. I haven’t tested this out yet, but I imagine since Bark.us can monitor my daughter’s direct messages because she is on an android device, I believe it should also pull that in even if it disappears. I will test the theory out though for sure and update this article when I figure it out.
The app seems interesting, but I would say that most people will still be ok just sharing on the regular app since there are so many more features. For super quick images to select groups of people, it might work ok.
When I first heard of the app, it sounded like maybe Instagram was going to implement streaks, which might be where this app is heading. Streaks are the addictive part of Snapchat that tells you how many days in a row you have been communicating with specific people. Kids will give their password to their friends when they will not have access to their phones, just to keep their streaks alive! I think with this new app, something to copy the streaks features is definitely in the works.
I also thought it may have tried to grab some features from Marco Polo, but it is definitely nothing like it. My favorite communication tool is still safe in its uniqueness! Let me know what you think of the new Threads app, and if you agree with me on it’s eventually incorporating a feature similar to streaks or even similar to Marco Polo! Hit me up on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat. I’m @FamilyTech on all platorms.
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Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com