Fleets: Twitter’s New Disappearing Tweet Story Feature

Twitter is hopping on a social media trend by introducing its new feature, Fleets, which closely resembles Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook’s Stories features. Snapchat first introduced stories in October of 2013. Following in its footsteps were Instagram and Facebook, releasing their version of the 24-hour posts in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Twitter released its disappearing Tweets function yesterday, describing it as a way to share momentary thoughts. 

Twitter claims that Fleets are a low-pressure way of communicating thoughts. Instead of having a Tweet be permanent, it is a way for users to share their thoughts more comfortably. Fleets can be used to share text, Tweets, photos, and videos. They also come with different customizable options to glamorize your message. When sharing a Tweet to Fleet, you can add extra commentary surrounding the post. Similar to its social media competitors, Fleets appear at the top of a user’s timeline in small circle icons. People can also reply to each other’s Fleets via direct message. 

From what I have personally seen, Twitter users are adapting well to the layout of Fleets. I saw a Fleet today that said, “These ‘twories’ are gonna be dangerous” which was playing on its obvious similarities to Facebook and Instagram Stories that we all know and love. As far as whether or not users are enjoying the new feature is up in the air. While some users began to use the Fleet feature right away, others’ first use of the feature was to post the word “No” in discouragement. Many people seem to view Twitter as a different type of platform than the other social media sites out there and are disappointed by their mainstream addition. 

Some instant issues that users have already begun complaining about include the opportunities they open for online harassment and bullying. Using Fleets opens up an easy pathway for unwanted direct messages. There were also some issues being discovered that allowed individuals to tag people in their posts who had previously blocked them. Twitter is already responding to these issues and stated that they are continuously working on updating Fleets for optimal usage and safety. 

Since Fleets is a new feature it may be too soon for marketers to understand how effective the tool can be. Stacy Minero, global head of Twitter ArtHouse, recommended to Marketing Brew that marketers target their Fleets for their biggest fans and followers. Since Fleets can seem more personal and are very visual, she believes it is a great way for brands to tease new products or comment on what is happening in their company. 

It will be interesting to see how Fleets performs and whether or not it is adopted by the community. We have seen similar features prosper on platforms like Snapchat and Instagram, but have also seen them wither away on other applications such as LinkedIn and YouTube. So far the user base seems to have a split opinion on the topic, but only time can tell. 

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