Join the Conversation With Twitter Fleets

by | Jan 13, 2021 | Content | Social Media | Email, Blog

Twitter recently rolled out a new feature they hoped would take the the world by storm – Twitter Fleets. Twitter’s purpose is to serve the public conversation. It’s where you go when you want to know what’s happening in the world. The team over at Twitter knows that, and they wanted people to feel comfortable joining the conversations they see on Twitter. Thus, Twitter Fleets so everyone can easily join the conversation in a new way with their “fleeting” thoughts.

Despite the excitement at Twitter headquarters, this new feature didn’t live up to its expectations. Let’s take a deeper look at Twitter Fleets and what went wrong.

The Beginning of Twitter Fleets

Back in early 2020, Twitter announced it’d be testing ephemeral tweets in Brazil. Since it was founded in 2006, the platform only had one post type available to users: a tweet. The team wanted to test out these new “disappearing” tweets to see if Twitter could follow in the footsteps of other successful social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.

The idea behind Twitter Fleets is that posts appear in a separate timeline located above the main timeline for 24 hours before disappearing. Sound familiar? It should. Twitter Fleets are pretty similar to the story functions we see on other social media platforms. 

The Main Goal

After conducting tests in Brazil, Italy, India, and South Korea earlier this year, Twitter officially launched the disappearing messaging function called Fleets across its global platform. In a blog post, Twitter Design Director Joshua Harris and Product Manager Sam Haveson wrote that the aim of the new option is to make users less self-conscious. Through the tests, Harris and Haveson found that people were talking more on Twitter and generally felt more comfortable joining in conversations. These messages can’t be retweeted or shared which reduces the social anxiety some might feel when it comes to tweeting. So many people feel pressured to be successful on Twitter, which is already difficult to do, so I can understand why Twitter Fleets were introduced.

The Criticism

Despite the success that the Twitter team saw with its tests, some Twitter users made it very clear they weren’t fans of the new feature once it was made available everywhere. Right away, Twitter Fleets were being mocked by users. Others just didn’t understand why Twitter needed a story function, which is something I too wondered. Twitter said it added the feature as a way for users to create posts with less permanence than a tweet, but tweets are already so easily buried under content. So, why create something that’ll last just as long as other tweets? I recently appeared on Roundpeg’s “Live From the ‘Peg” with Sam where we chatted about this new feature. If you’re really interested in hearing my opinion, check out that video.

Regardless of how I feel, it’ll be interesting to see how brands and businesses use Twitter Fleets if they do. To be successful on Twitter, users need to really put in the effort when it comes to staying active on the platform. Will Twitter Fleets be the cure to this? Who knows. Only time will tell.

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