TikTok has turned the X (Twitter) vs Threads microblogging war into a three-way dance overnight, after the video focused social network introduced text-only posts to its platform for the first time.
It's an intriguing move by TikTok, to say the least. The new text post functionality largely mirrors what's already available on the rival apps, offering users a 1,000 character limit with which to create text-based content.
Beyond that, you can add background colors to your text post, edit the style and appearance of the text, and add music and stickers to further jazz things up. Other TikTokers can then interact with the post similar to how they would on a multimedia post, commenting as well as Stitching and Dueting, if these features have been enabled by the original poster.
How To Create a Text Post on TikTok
Getting started with TikTok's new text post feature couldn't be easier. You just open up the Camera part of the app, just like you would if creating any kind of content for the platform, and you'll now see text posts offered as a third option alongside video and photo.
In a blog post introducing the new feature, TikTok says it hopes the addition of text-only content will give “creators another way to express themselves” and that integration with trademark TikTok features like Duet and Stitch will mean text content is as “dynamic and interactive as any video or photo post” on the app.
This, presumably, is what it hopes will give it an advantage over Meta's Threads and erstwhile social media giant X, until yesterday known as Twitter, which are locked in a fierce battle for microblogging supremacy.
TikTok Here To Dance on X's Grave?
While microblogging used to be big in the social media game, current industry trendsetters Instagram and TikTok have made their name focusing almost exclusively on visual media. However, text is clearly still regarded as a battleground worth contesting, at least judging by the number of platforms vying for the “X killer” crown.
Of the many X/Twitter alternatives, Meta's new app Threads has made the biggest dent so far, yet despite unprecedented early interest, the buzz around the platform quickly waned. Now TikTok has joined the party, too, it's difficult to see X ever reclaiming its former prestige and the crucial revenue streams that came with it.
Advertisers have by and large deserted the app since it was bought by renegade tech billionaire Elon Musk back in October 2022, something which Twitter's new name and logo are unlikely to fix. This is especially true if TikTok manages to get any kind of traction with its new text initiative, as it already enjoys unrivalled access to the coveted Gen Z demographic by way of its existing userbase. If Threads dug X's grave, now TikTok is here to do an endearingly silly dance all over it.
X's Biggest Problem Is the One It Can't Fix
The truth of the matter is that X has many problems, but its biggest one resides in the boardroom. Even though Elon Musk has officially stepped aside as CEO and handed the reins to former NBCUniversal ads supremo Linda Yaccarino, it's had little impact on how the platform is viewed by the outside world due to Musk's relentlessly outspoken and brash nature.
Unfortunately for Yaccarino and everyone else trying to save X, the South African magnate's divisive personality all-too-closely aligns with the popular view of X as a haven for extremists, trolls, and other general nincompoops these days. Or to put it another way: why would any advertiser want to send their spend X's way when wholesome, floppy haired TikTok teens are shimmying for it in competition?
If there's one thing we've learned so far this year, it's that even the best social media tools stop short of being able to help you manage the biggest online “X factor”: public perception.