Blogs: Social Setting / Social Media

Twitter Discontinues Fleets


Back in November 2020, JCK reported on the news that Twitter had introduced Fleets, a way for its users to share their—as the name implies—fleeting thoughts. Much like Instagram Stories, the concept was to strengthen the potential for communication by its users, by allowing them to post their input in quick bites that would disappear within 24 hours—more like a spoken conversation, less like a permanent Twitter feed feature that people tend to spend more time thinking about before posting.

While early tests of Fleets late last year reportedly showed the feature having its desired effect (i.e., more users actively joining conversations), the result was, to use the word again, fleeting. Just this past week, Twitter announced it would be officially discontinuing Fleets as of Aug. 3.

“We built Fleets as a lower-pressure, ephemeral way for people to share their fleeting thoughts. We hoped Fleets would help more people feel comfortable joining the conversation on Twitter,” wrote Ilya Brown, vice president of product at Twitter, on the platform’s blog. “But, in the time since we introduced Fleets to everyone, we haven’t seen an increase in the number of new people joining the conversation with Fleets like we hoped.”

Brown went on to detail what Twitter has learned from its experience with the feature, promising to focus its lessons and efforts on creating new ways for people to join the conversation. Of the things the network learned: Rather than encouraging new users (or those who use Twitter to observe rather than converse) to jump in and engage, it was the users already actively Tweeting who most used the feature as a way to amplify their own Tweets. This tells Twitter two things: Some users just don’t feel comfortable sharing their own thoughts on the platform, and the people who are already Tweeting really want to be heard.

Twitter also noted that most Fleets included media like photos and videos, making use of the function’s full-screen camera, text formatting options, and GIFs. The platform says it will soon test updates to incorporate these features into its regular platform.

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By: Brittany Siminitz

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