They call it a “new way to join the conversation” but is it really that new? Twitter’s “Fleets” is a first-ever feature for the social media platform but hardly new in the sense of its functionality. If that’s déjà vu you’re sensing, you’re not alone. Twitter Fleets is a Stories-like feature that allows you to share “momentary thoughts” by way of tweets that disappear after 24 hours. In essence, it’s similar to Instagram Stories, TikTok videos, Snapchat, and LinkedIn Stories.
Before launching globally yesterday (November 17), Twitter tested the feature in Brazil, India, Italy, and South Korea. Through these tests, they learned that people with Fleets talked more on Twitter. “Those new to Twitter found Fleets to be an easier way to share what’s on their mind,” read a blog post announcement. “Because they disappear from view after a day, Fleets helped people feel more comfortable sharing personal and casual thoughts, opinions, and feelings.”
That thing you didn’t Tweet but wanted to but didn’t but got so close but then were like nah.
We have a place for that now—Fleets!
Rolling out to everyone starting today. pic.twitter.com/auQAHXZMfH
— Twitter (@Twitter) November 17, 2020
Besides casual sharing, users can “fleet” text, tweet reactions, photos, and videos. They can also customize their Fleets with various backgrounds and text fonts. Stickers and live broadcasting are on the way, too. If you want to respond to someone else’s Fleet, simply tap on one to start a DM conversation or reply with an emoji. It’s also important to note that you can’t “like” someone’s Fleet or know if someone has screenshot yours.
As for how to find and share a Fleet, it will appear at the top of your home feed, much like the Instagram experience. Though this gives creators yet another way to promote their work or product, time will only tell if it’s a worthwhile addition to the Twitter experience. As users experiment and settle on what is timeline versus Fleets material, it’s likely that Twitter will have to create rules that evolve with the user experience.
You can tag accounts that have blocked you (and that you’ve blocked, me and POTUS are mutual blockers) in a “fleet” and the tag will still work to direct your followers to that account.
That is not good. pic.twitter.com/mKb4Fxb3C1
— Andrew Thaler (@DrAndrewThaler) November 17, 2020
Many also see Fleets as another pipeline for harassment that has grown in recent years. For example, some have already noticed they can tag users they’ve blocked. Twitter says it’s listening to feedback and responding in real-time. With social media platforms essentially copying one another and expanding their respective features, one can only conclude that social media strategy is still an integral part of brand-building, whether you’re an influencer, small business owner, or somewhere in-between.
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