Mikey Collard is senior vice president at Method Communications.
In a world full of social media apps, there are a handful that PR pros should be on, but a couple they need to be active and engaged on. For me, that used to be Twitter and LinkedIn, but Threads is slowly but surely replacing Twitter (now “X” – I’m not calling it that). It’s about time.
Before Twitter was acquired last year, it was an amazing tool for PR pros. You could follow reporters and thought leaders in the space you worked in to see what was top of mind for them and the stories/issues they cared about. You could engage with reporters and get to know them on a personal level beyond transactional exchanges. Reporters would often look for story sources directly on the platform and request to communicate through direct messages. If you weren’t on Twitter, you couldn’t reach them on their preferred communication channel.
Through years of active engagement, I carefully crafted and curated my Twitter feed and it gave me an edge against other PR pros. By checking in throughout the day, I was able to maintain a pulse on what was happening and what the people in the industry I cared about were saying, which helped me tailor pitches, media strategy, thought-leadership content, etc. in real time.
While elements of this Twitter still exist, the app’s glory days are gone and aren’t coming back.
Since its acquisition, Twitter has been on a path of self destruction – both from a product perspective as well as a founder-saying-horrific-things-and-associating-himself-with-questionable-people perspective. And seeing as Elon Musk continues to ratchet things up with his antisemitic remarks, telling advertisers to “f*** off,” boosting conspiracy theories and reinstating Alex Jones, I don’t see the downward spiral coming in for a soft landing any time soon. We need a new Twitter for PR – I’m hopeful Threads will be it.
While Twitter rivals have sprouted up recently (Bluesky, Mastodon, etc.), none have had what it takes to replace Twitter as a place where notable, relevant conversations happen. One of my favorite journalists, Casey Newton, recently pulled tech news site Platformer from Twitter, and I’ve wanted to quit myself. I’ve significantly reduced my usage in recent months, but it’s been hard to quit completely because there are still so many important conversations happening on the platform. But two recent signs gave me more hope in Threads becoming a legitimate competitor:
- Meta introduced a new tagging feature similar to hashtags. “Tech Threads” has been one of the biggest trending topics on the platform so far.
- Threads did a huge sports push around the NBA In-Season Tournament. Why is that a big deal? Because when talking about the Twitter “holdouts,” the sports user base is often top of the list. As a big Utah Jazz fan (RIP their season), that’s definitely been a factor driving me to stay on Twitter.
Now is the time to join Threads if you haven’t already. Some reporters have been slow to join, but especially in light of Musk’s most recent antics, I’ve noticed a big uptick in new reporters on the platform. (Speaking of the new tags, “Journalism Threads” has been trending lately – check that one out too.)
If you’re planning to join, here are some tips for PR pros:
- Put your work credentials in your bio.
- That’s important context, especially if you look to interact with reporters.
- Lean into new features as they’re released.
- Tagging just started, and as of writing this, there are only a handful of posts that include the “PRThreads” or “Comms Threads” tags. Let’s change that.
- Cultivate the right feed.
- Follow the reporters and thought leaders in the space you work in. Some outlets have done posts where they link to their reporters (Fortune example) – keep an eye out for those.
- Organically interact with influencers, thought leaders and reporters in your space.
- Be real. The clearly sycophantic replies from PR pros to reporters are gross – don’t do that. Leave that toxicity on Twitter.
And while Threads has made some big strides lately, there are still some elements I hope come along soon:
- There’s still not a Threads equivalent of @PRJournoRequest and hashtags like #journorequests & #prrequest that are commonly used to help reporters source stories on Twitter, but I think it’s just a matter of time.
- Some of the smaller verticals or sections of larger outlets aren’t on Threads yet. (e.g., Bloomberg’s Work Shift has a Twitter account, but no Threads account as of this writing.)
- Some kind of direct messaging service is bound to come to Threads at some point. Right? RIGHT?
Tl;dr: PR needs a new Twitter, and Threads is going to be it – have some patience, and in the meantime help make it happen.