February 6, 2024

Welcome To Threads

I've been holding off on writing this post before it was time to do so, and I am now convinced that the time is now.

In this post, I will be walking you through everything you need to know to navigate and use the most viable Twitter (X) alternative out there:

🧵 Threads.

Learning Targets

By the end of this blog post, readers will be able to:

  1. Confidently navigate Threads and its features.
  2. View Threads as a viable alternative to Twitter (X)
  3. Connect with fellow physical educators on Threads.

An Ode to Twitter (RIP)

Let me start things off by pouring one out for my homie.

I joined Twitter in March 2009. At the time, I was just curious to learn more about this app that all of the tech writers I followed online were having fun with (by followed, I mean I subscribed to their blogs). At first, I didn't really get it: I'd post these short little text message-style "tweets" and – occasionally – things would happen. Sometimes those things were likes (née "Favourites"), other times mentions, sometimes someone would copy my tweet and post it themselves with an "RT" in front of it, and sometimes I'd have conversations (like that time I connected with a fashion blogger over our shared affinity for Weezer and almost got a date out of it... which I bailed on because I am still convinced I was going to be the subject of a "How to Lose a Guy I Met on Twitter in 10 Days" post.)

Whatever Twitter was, it was fun. It was also fast. When Michael Jackson died, I learned about it on Twitter. When the "Miracle on the Hudson" took place, I got to follow it on Twitter. Twitter became my home on the Internet. It was where I got to experience the world through the tweets of others. It's where I crafted my online voice.

Most importantly, Twitter was where I found my people.

I often joke that finding fellow physical educators on Twitter in those early days was like finding a unicorn, but it really was. The first PE teachers I remember connecting with were Australians. Jarrod Robison, Brendan Jones, Ben Jones. Following their accounts opened my eyes to what should have been obvious: that there were PE teachers around the world that were passionate about teaching, who were striving to innovate, and who were excited to share what they were doing.

I started to realize that all of the digital dots were in place, they just needed to be connected.

I made it my mission to try to help get more PE teachers online. I wrote blog posts on how Twitter could be used as a tool for professional development. I started offering "Twitter 101" PD the local and provincial level. Eventually, I got to connect with someone by the name of Artie Kamiya, who invited me to his National PE Institute event in Asheville, North Carolina to spread the good word on Twitter. Later, Artie and I went to Seattle to present at the SHAPE America National Convention to a room PACKED with teachers who wanted to figure out this Twitter thing.

Through Twitter, I was able to meet teachers I never would have had the opportunity to learn and grow from. Through Twitter, I made friendships that persist to this day. Through Twitter, I was able to live experiences that have enriched my life and challenged my way of thinking about teaching.

Through Twitter, I grew up as a physical educator.

My Twitter journey lasted nearly 15 years. Over that time, I was blessed to earn the "following" status of 46.4K people. I am very proud of how I was able to contribute to the online #physed community and I will forever be grateful for the role that Twitter has played in my life.

Twitter is dead. It died the day Elon killed that little blue bird that I loved (who – in the early days – was known as Larry) and ate it for supper. The ugly monstrosity known as X is what emerged from Twitter's ashes and I cannot bring myself to recommend the platform to teachers anymore, which breaks my heart because I consider the months leading up to Elon's botched purchase of the platform to be "peak Twitter".

It is a hard thing to recognize that the waters you swim in are poisoned. It took self-imposing a Twitter hiatus for me to realize that the platform – once so fun, fast, and hilarious – had become negative and borderline hateful. Logging back in left me feeling miserable, so I stopped doing it. I am keeping my Twitter accounts in the hope that, one day, a hero will come along and rescue the platform from Musk's dystopian version of it. However, I think that's a pipe dream and I need to move on. I'm writing this post in the hopes that you will join me.

Threads by Instagram

In the months leading up to and following Twitter's horrific conversion into X (I'm sorry, I hate everything about X's branding), many challengers entered the microblogging arena. Mastodon, Bluesky, Post News... I've explored them all. None of them have felt like home.

Then on July 5, 2023, Meta (also a horrible rebrand) launched Threads by Instagram. In a weekend, 100M+ people created Threads accounts, which was simplified by the ability to port over your Instagram profile to the new platform. I got on early (#272,703 reporting for Threading) and have been using the app daily ever since. Most of my usage has been in the form of lurking, because I wanted to get a feel for the place first. I can now say that Threads is legit. It's got a ridiculously familiar feel, they've shipped features so fast that there isn't much missing anymore (compared to where Twitter was when I left), and more and more big brands, celebrities, and household names are joining Threads every day (which is a healthy sign for platform sustainability).

Listen, I am not a Meta fan. Facebook doesn't have a great track record in user privacy and – you know – not destroying civilization. I've had a love/hate relationship with Instagram for years (currently on the "love" side if you are curious). If you message me on WhatsApp, I'll either a) not respond, or b) reply with a SHAME! gif.

And yet... I'm hopeful. Something about Threads feels right. It's got room to grow, but name me a platform under 12 months old that doesn't. Adam Mosseri, who heads the Instagram and Threads teams at Meta, does a good job of connecting with the community, communicating decisions with users, and being a positive presence on the platform.

Listen, there are definitely downsides to Threads. For one, it's a Meta platform. As with all Meta platform, users are the product. There are currently no ads or promoted posts on Threads, but those will come eventually and will continue to make you question whether or not your phone is listening to you. To join Threads, you also need to have an Instagram account... which is both smart (for Meta) and weird (for non-Instagram users).

A lot of people will hate on Threads because they hate Meta, and that's fair. In my opinion, there are no alternatives that are truly "free". There is always a cost, and I'd rather know up front what that cost is than find out later. Like that time I used that app that did a 3D scan of my body and made a video of me doing a funny TikTok dance. I'm sure that somehow, somewhere... that scan isn't being used honourably.

How Threads Works

Threads is, for lack of a better term, a microblogging social network that aims to be a forum for public conversation.

Users publish short pieces of content (posts) that other users can interact with. The main form of interaction is to leave comments (replies) on other users' posts, therefore starting a public discussion (thread).

Ok, with that oversimplification out of the way, let's dive into the nitty gritty:

Creating a Threads Account

Creating a Threads account is a little funky, because to create an account on Threads, you'll first need an account on Instagram (if you don't have one, here is how to do it.) Once you have your Instagram account, sign up for Threads either on the mobile app (iOSAndroid) or on the web. Once you're logged in, it's time to set up your profile!

User Profiles

Profiles on Threads are pretty bare-boned. Unless you ported your Instagram profile information over, be sure to set a profile picture, write a bio, and add a link (if you have a relevant one to share).

In the top left corner, you'll see an Instagram icon, a bell icon, and a "..." menu. The Instagram icon will link to that user's Instagram profile. Tapping the bell icon will turn on notifications for that user so that you are notified whenever they share a new post. The "..." menu gives you options to share that user's profile or learn more about when they joined Threads. It also gives you the option to mute, restrict, block, or report that user to limit how they affect your Threads experience.


We'll dive deeper into posts in a little bit, but just know that posts are what you call the pieces of content that get shared on Threads. Posts can be text-based, and they can also include media (photos, videos, gif, voice notes, polls, and links). To create a new post, hit the "Compose" icon that is in the middle of the bottom navigation bar. This will pull up the new post composer and you'll be ready to start posting!


When people follow you on Threads, they are basically subscribing to your posts. When you post, those posts will appear in your followers' timelines (which we'll talk about next). The same is true for the people you choose to follow: by doing so, their posts will be pushed to your timeline so that you can stay up-to-date with what they are sharing.

To follow someone, you can navigate to their profile and hit the "Follow" button. Alternatively, you can follow people directly from your timeline by tapping on their profile photo that appears along with the posts they've shared (accounts you do not follow will have a little + button beside them).


When you log into Threads, you'll be presented with your Timeline: the stream of posts that Threads believes you'll want to see.

Although Threads doesn't make this too obvious, every user has two timelines they can enjoy.

The first is you "For You" timeline, which is typically the one that Threads opens up with. The "For You" timeline will show you posts that the Threads algorithm thinks you'll enjoy. On this timeline, you might see content from accounts that you do not follow. You know that you are viewing your "For You" timeline when the Home icon features a door cutout.

The second timeline is your "Following" timeline and it's a little tricky to find. To do so on mobile, you need to tap on the "Home" icon at the bottom of the app. When you do so, you will see two tabs appear at the top of your screen: "For You" and "Following". Tap on the "Following" tab and you will switch to that timeline (you'll notice that the Home icon cutout has switched from a door to a person). Your "Following" timeline will only show you the most recent posts from all of the accounts that you follow on Threads. If you see posts from accounts that you haven't followed, it is either because they have been reposted or quoted by an account you follow.


One of the reasons why I have switched to Threads is because the algorithm there is so much more positive than what Twitter has become.

Algorithms learn from user behaviour, and you will see more content recommendations that are similar to any content you interact with on the platform. Algorithms grow and change over time, often without users ever being informed as to why, so it's hard to say what the Threads algorithm prioritizes. That said, I've been on Threads since the start: check my profile and you'll see that I was user #272,703... Threads now has over 100M users.

Based on my experience with studying and using the app on a daily basis, I'm convinced that it is a safe(r) place for physical education to connect, share, and grow together.

Fediverse Participation

Ok, this part is a little advanced. Stick with me.

From the start, Threads has touted that it will be a part of the Fediverse. Without getting too technical about it, think of the Fediverse as a world of interconnected apps. Users can follow and interact with users and content across different apps and platforms. For example, a Mastodon user could follow a Threads user from Mastodon and interact with the content that the Threads users posts without having to leave Mastodon. Super simple and easy to understand, right? I kid, I kid.

The main benefit is that you don't have to have a thousand accounts for different platforms. You select the platform that YOU most enjoy and interact with the content that YOU care about, regardless of where that content was posted to.

Also, should you choose to leave one Fediverse platform for another, you can take your followers with you. This would be great for people who – oh, I don't know – spent 14 years of their life building a following of over 46,000 teachers on an platform that is now being driven into the ground by a billionaire who seems intent on erasing it from the history books.

Not that I'm sour about it or anything...

How To Use Threads

Now that we've covered the 101 of Threads, let's dive into how to actually use the platform to share, connect, and grow together:

Posting To Threads: Text & Media Limits

At the heart of Threads are posts: individual pieces of text or media that are created by Threads users.

Posts can have up to 500 characters of text. Posts can also include images (up to 10 per post), video (up to 5 minutes in length), voice recordings (up to 29 seconds), gifs, and polls.

Editing, Deleting, & Pinning Posts on Threads

One thing that Twitter ex-pats will appreciate is that Threads allows users to edit a post or reply that they've shared.

This option is only available within five minutes from when a post was shared, and other users will be able to see if a post was edited (a small icon of a pencil drawing a circle will appear beside the timestamp of any post that has been edited).

To edit a post that you shared, tap the "..." menu icon that is to the right of your post's timestamp. Doing so will pull an options menu. If you still have time on the clock, you will see an option to "Edit" at the top of the menu that appeared (Threads also shows you how much time is remaining for you to edit your post). Edit your post however you like and you are done!

From the same pop-up menu that appeared when you tap the "..." icon, you can choose to delete a post.

When you delete a post, it will not delete any of the replies that people shared to it. Their replies will just be linked to a "The post has been deleted" placeholder.

Finally, if you have a post that you want others to see when they visit your profile, you can pin it. From the same "..." menu on the post you want to pin, select "Pin to Profile". This will keep the post at the top of your profile feed so that it the first thing people see when they visit your profile.

You can only have one pinned post at a time, so if you choose to pin another post it will replace the previous post that you pinned.

Mentioning Other Users on Threads (and Beyond!)

You can mention another user on Threads by including their username (preceded by the @ symbol) in any post you create. This has two benefits:

First of all, it will notify the person you mention that you are trying to interact with them (or giving them a shoutout).

Second, mentions shared in posts become hyperlinks that other users can click on to visit the mentioned user's profile. This makes it easier for you to recommend great account to your followers.

Another thing that is cool about Threads is that you can mention people who have an Instagram account but who are not on Threads yet. Mentioning Instagram users will show a small Instagram icon en lieu of the @ symbol. If you tap on a mentioned Instagram user, you can a) check out their Instagram profile and b) follow them in advance so that you will be instantly connected once they join Threads.

One last cool tip regarding mentions: if a post has several accounts mentioned in it, long-pressing the post will pull up a menu that list all of the mentioned accounts. From there, you can quickly follow any or all of the accounts that were mentioned in the post.

Interacting with Posts on Threads

There are many ways that users can interact with others on Threads:

"Liking" a Post

You can "like" a post by using the heart shape icon below it. The author of the post will be notified that you liked what they shared.

You can view posts that you have liked by navigating to your profile and selecting "Your Likes" from the menu (note: as of January 2024, viewing your likes is only available on mobile). You cannot view other users' likes.

"Replying" to a Post

Users can reply to posts shared on Threads (including their own posts).

When a post is replied to, it becomes a Thread: a public discussion. Threads shows a thread bar when a post has replies that are connected to it. 

"Reposting" a Post

If you see a post that you find valuable and would like to share it with your followers, you can "Repost" it.

To repost something that another user shared, hit the "recycle" button below their post and choose "Repost". That post will now appear in your followers' timelines, even if they do not follow the user who authored their post. This is a way of amplifying great content so that it gets viewed by more people.

"Quoting" a Post

Sometimes, people will share content that you would like to spark a discussion around. Quotes are perfect for this as they allow you to share the original post below your comments on it. Your followers will be able to see the original post as part of your Quote and even interact with it themselves.

To quote a post that another user shared, hit the "recycle" button below their post and choose "Quote". Alternatively, if you long-press the "repost" icon, it will automatically pull up the Quote composer.

"Sharing" a Post

Content on Threads can be shared with others outside of Threads in a variety of ways.

By tapping the Share button below a post, the Threads Share Screen will pop up. This gives you the option to:

  • DM the post to someone you follow on Instagram,
  • Add the post to your Instagram Story,
  • Share the post as an image on your Instagram feed,
  • Copy a link to the post (which you can share with others),
  • Send the post to others via Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, or Messages, or even share the post using your phone's native share screen.

Using Search and Tags on Threads

Threads provides users with tools to search for interesting people and content:

Threads Search

To perform a search on Threads, hit the search icon. Doing so will pull up the search bar, along with suggested people to follow.

As you begin to type in the bar, Threads will pull up accounts that match what you are typing. Above those accounts is an option to "search for..." that allows you to search Threads for specific keywords.

As of January 2024, Threads Search is still in its infancy: you cannot perform advanced search actions and the results that Search displays are not always in chronological order (nor is there an option to view results in that order). 

Threads Tags

Just like on most social media platforms, Threads allows you to add hashtags to your posts.

On Threads, hashtags are simply known as Tags. Tags on Threads do not show the # symbol as they do on other social media platforms, although you can add one should you really want to. Instead, Tags simply appear as blue hyperlinked text in users' posts.

Another big difference with Tags on Threads is that users may only add one tag per post.

To add a tag to your post, hit the # icon below the composer window. Doing so will prompt a drop-down menu featuring past Tags you've used for convenience. You can also type in a new Tag for the post.

When you see a post in your Timeline that features a Tag, you can interact with the Tag by tapping on it. Doing so will pull up a Threads Search results page that features other posts featuring that Tag. This is what makes Tags a powerful community-building tool as communities on Threads can use Tags to share content that they know their fellow community members are likely to find interesting.

Building a Vibrant #PhysEd Community on Threads

I learned a long time ago that there is value to living your life with humility. Although pride can get you closer to the warmth of the sun, it's typically just a matter of time before that same pride sends you crashing back to Earth. I have been blessed to be a part of many incredible adventures in my life, and I am humbled to have received the support and encouragement to go out and serve my professional community in the way that I have.

However, when it comes to #PhysEd and Twitter, I've got G14 classification and I will happily fight anyone who tries to take that away from me. I have been a part of the #PhysEd Community on Twitter since its inception and I proudly played an active role in growing and helping shape that community over the years. From creating and hosting #PEChat, to travelling across North America to help teachers get on the platform, to using the platform to advocate for quality PE, I've been doing the work.

Watching Twitter as a platform die and then rot into whatever X is now has been difficult. That said, what our community is facing isn't a total rebuild. The #PhysEd community is more than an app or a platform. It's a shared culture, a collective history, a network of not only peers but friends. What we are facing is just a relocation. A recommitment to the practices that made what we had on Twitter so positive, welcoming, and vibrant. What we are facing is not a dead-end, but a chance to begin again a little bit wiser, a lot more intentional, and with a belief that Team #PhysEd has the power to shape Threads into something we can feel excited about being a part of.

Also, despite Threads trying to make the hashtag symbol a thing of the past, I vote that we keep it and continue to use #PhysEd to tag our posts. It's easy to do: just tap the "#" sign to open the Tag selector and then tap it again to type out "#PhysEd" as your tag. It's part of our legacy and I feel that continuing to celebrate it is important.

Behaviours That Build Community

I'm committed to helping shape Threads into a positive platform for public professional discussions on physical education. Yes, it will take numbers to get us there. However, it will also take intentional action. In all of my years on social media, I've come to realize that there are five behaviours that are required to collectively build positive online community. If each of us commits to these five behaviours, the #PhysEd community on Threads will be thriving in no time:

Behaviour One: Forget about the numbers.

Comparison is the theft of joy. Social media platforms like to say that the like counts, repost numbers, and shares add fun to the game, but really displaying those metrics publicly is just a way of controlling user behaviour. It's easy to get hooked on the numbers and start using them as a way to measure the "success" of your posts. In the long run, numbers just suck the joy out of your experience. They can also shape you into something you don't want to be: a selfish, self-centred, self-promoted (I'm speaking from experience).

Forget about the numbers. Threads hides them anyway. What makes a post successful is if a) it made you happy to share it, b) sharing it gave you a chance to reflect on your teaching, and c) sharing it brought value to others (which may or may not be communicated to you in any way whatsoever). Sharing for likes, reposts, and shares is a surefire way to drive yourself insane and dilute the quality of the conversations we have on Threads. Again, forget about the numbers.

Behaviour Two: Don't play the hits.

One of the biggest barriers to teachers showing their work is the fear of that work not being "good enough". The weight of perfection keeps so many fun, interesting, idea-sparking posts in the drafts folder where they bring no value to anybody.

Let me be clear, you're good enough. You always have been and you always will be. Chasing perfection is like hunting for the end of the rainbow: you ain't gonna find it because it doesn't exist. What does exist is excellence, and excellence is a practice. We become excellent by practicing, and practice requires putting in reps.

Every post you share serves two roles in your pursuit of excellence:

The first is that your posts act as markers that say "Hey, right now – in this moment – this is where I'm at in my practice".  It's why posts have timestamps. By staking those markers in the ground, it helps you determine where you can grow next. That happens not only because posting is a form of reflection, but also because posting helps you get feedback from others who are in the same trenches of teaching that you are in! Until you've experienced that kind of community-driven professional growth for yourself, you simply can't put a price on it.

The second way that posting plays a role in your pursuit of excellence is that it allows you to zoom out and look back on your journey. Your posts are not only markers in time, they are also breadcrumbs that you leave behind. When you've shared a body of work in the form of short posts over the span of several months or years, you become aware of just how far you have come in your teaching practice. That awareness leads to one of the most exciting, empowering feelings out there: momentum. A teacher with a drive for excellence and a heart full of momentum is an unstoppable force. None of that is possible without the willingness to share rough drafts and not just your most polished work (i.e. hits).

Behaviour Three: Show up.

If we want our community to thrive, then we need to practice the only habit that really matters: showing up. Showing up doesn't mean posting every day. Trying to post for posting's sake only ends up sucking the joy out of your experience.

Thankfully, there are lots of others ways to show up online.

Like or repost interesting content. Find someone new to follow. Participate in online events (e.g. #PEChat). Most importantly, drop comments on other people's posts and/or take part in discussions. Showing up promotes trust, connection, and collaboration within our online community, all of which help build the kind of social capital that draws new people and perspectives to our public discussion.

Behaviour Four: See the person.

This one isn't as big of an issues when social capital is high, but it is worth mentioning while we focus on the future of the #PhysEd community.

We are allowed to disagree with each other's ideas, opinions, or practices. In fact, challenging each other to reflect deeply on our teaching is an essential element to supporting one another's growth. What we cannot do is forget that there is a person on the other side of the pixels you see on your screen. That person lives their life in a whole series of overlapping contexts that only a fool could pretend to fully grasp.

What I'm trying to say is remember to be decent. Hold off on the hot takes. Remember to seek first to understand, then be understood. Feedback without relationship is just obnoxious aggression, which is what poisoned the waters on Twitter. Play the long game of helping someone know that you care so that they care about what you know.

Behaviour Five: Make it playful.

Threads will never be your job. Teaching is your job. Threads is like a professional hobby, and hobbies should be fun.

Over the years, I've heard several "growth experts" tout the importance of "sticking to your lane" and "building your personal monopoly".


Those things are great if all you care about are your stats (see Behaviour One). The cost of trying to speedlane it to the coveted "thought leader" status is that it's freaking lonely once you get there. Your hunger to chase numbers that you believe will lead to being perceived as "great" is only driven by a fear of not being "enough" (see Behaviour Two). The cost is that you end up leaving friendships, laughs, and memories on the table because you never take time to focus on being an active member of your community along the way (see Behaviour Three). You end up treating people like numbers, and you wind up miserable because that's not who you are (see Behaviour Four).

There's a remedy to all of this, an that's to allow yourself to have fun along the way. Be playful in your posts. Don't take it too seriously. Teaching is hard enough that we don't need to pretend like everything is so serious all of the time. Figure out what brings you joy and helps create joy for others, and then have fun doing that.

Physical Education still has a lot of room to grow. There is important work that needs to be done. That said, every day PE teachers around the world step into their gyms and try to create some magic with their students. They help bring joy to their students' lives, help those students believe in themselves, and instill a love for learning that will empower their students to fill their days with adventure. We do all of that, despite so many odds being stacked against us. It is a heavy, heavy lift. So, when you're using Threads on your downtime, feel free to keep it light, fun, and playful.

It's how we're built to learn, anyway.

Wrapping Up

This was a big post, and I wouldn't have written it if I didn't believe that Threads is a suitable place for the #PhysEd community to start its next chapter. I hope that you can now see why I believe this, and that this post has given you what you need to come join me there.

I know that change can be overwhelming, and becoming comfortable on a new platform can be tough. If you're someone who needs some extra support in getting started, I've put together a seven-day Welcome to Threads email course for you. It's designed to send one daily challenge to your inbox every day for seven days.

By the end of the seven days, you should be all set up and ready to connect with fellow #PhysEd community members on Threads!

Thanks so much for reading and please feel free to share this post with others to help get the word out!

Happy Teaching!


Joey Feith
Joey Feith is a physical education teacher based out of Nova Scotia and the founder of
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