Twitter Experiments with Short-Term Tweets: Fleets Disappear In a Day

Megan Green Megan Green November 06, 2020
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Ever-changing and evolving, the ephemeral world of social media has taken on a different attitude of embracing the moment in 2020. Facebook, Instagram, and more have posting options to make a thought inherently impermanent. These posts only stay up for a day and then disappear into cyberspace. Following this trend, Twitter is testing out its method of posts featuring fleeting thoughts in Brazil.

They dubbed them “fleets.” Lasting only 24 hours, most people are still deciding whether they like it or not. Follow the new Twitter trend through the post to figure out what is causing all the contention.

Table of Contents

  1. The Copycat Nature of the “Stories” Trend
  2. What Makes Twitter’s Stories Different?
  3. Why Is Twitter Doing This?
  4. The Popularity of the New Feature
  5. When Will Fleets Hit the Streets?

The Copycat Nature of the “Stories” Trend

Copycat Nature

The format of Snapchat’s original Stories feature has been passed around from hand to hand in the world of social media. The initial popularity made them especially delectable. Users enjoy the ability to express their thoughts without the need for perfect editing or framing.

Snapchat, where both short-term photos and videos could be shared, was the birthplace of Stories. It was then blatantly stolen by Instagram. They adapted and cultivated it further. Even those that don’t follow a person could search for and view their Stories. With this success, Facebook Inc. ended up bringing it into every one of its subsidiaries, including WhatsApp, Messenger, and Facebook itself.

From there, the spread continued, followed by YouTube, Medium, and even Skype. Twitter seems to have taken its time jumping onto the bandwagon. However, with the roll-out of the fleets, Twitter has just decided to dive in.

Disappearing tweets cannot be liked, but may only receive a reaction through direct messages. This addition to the platform is debated whether it will add extra depth or end up taking away its uniqueness in its public relatability. Testing will allow people to voice their opinion.

What Makes Twitter’s Stories Different?

Twitter’s Stories Different

The new Twitter version of stories is more applicable to their platform to make a mark on the Stories trend. The disappearing tweets are created by tapping a plus button. After creation, they will be displayed in a row of posts at the top of the home timeline on the app. Upon adding a photo, a video, and even a GIF along with your choice of 280 characters, it can be posted.

The Differences From Twitter’s Version Compared to Others Include:

  • Increased obscurity compared to other Stories formats. People will need to click through a profile picture, even of someone they don’t follow
  • Users make the choice to view them instead of seeing them at the top of their feed
  • The fleets cannot be searched. Shown in chronological order of those that the users follow, then those chosen by the app’s algorithm. Photos and videos cannot be shared, retweeted, or liked. The only reaction that can be taken is to send a DM.

Twitter has observed and learned from past Story formats. They are still around for the general 24 hour period. To keep it free from cyberbullying, Twitter has just reported that it will keep the fleets on record for a short while. Then they will be deleted from the archives permanently. This is aided by the inability to retweet the disappearing story.

Why is Twitter Doing This?

Twitter is well aware of the type of user base that it has developed. It is different from Instagram or any other sharing platform. This was brought to the forefront shortly after the trial release at the beginning of 2020 when the hashtag #RIPTwitter was trending. The reaction came on strongly from Twitter veterans. They feared the addition of basic, fleeting thoughts would devalue the rich media discussion culture that has kept Twitter popular throughout the years.

Here Are the Reasons for the Motivation Behind Twitter’s “Stories” Version:

  1. Response to users’ feedback. Some reported feeling uncomfortable with speaking openly
  2. There are a large number of users that feel a restriction on what they want to say due to impending retweets, likes, comments, or lack thereof.
  3. To get rid of popularity dread, Twitter intends fleets to be available to user’s followers. only for a short number of hours
  4. Makes it more personal. It means any reply or evidence about whether the photo or video is liked or not would only be possible over DM from the post
  5. This will also help to keep the media platform’s feed free of idle chit chat, relegating it more to the stories.
  6. Open Twitter up to another layer of engagement with users. The fleets would be free of the public nature of a tweet, especially with the stigma of what kind of content a tweet should contain
  7. This method of post and direct reply allows Twitter to be available for more comfortable and intimate conversations

The Popularity of the New Feature

Popularity of the New Feature

Since Twitter has released fleets for testing to Brasilian users, they have only received feedback from this region. Yet, many share a wide range of reactions.

#1. Many users seemed to dislike the idea of it at first. Then, upon being able to use it, their affinity for them grew tenfold, and they like it in the end.

#2. There is also a lot of work to be done before the full launch. There are quite a few users that seem to feel apathetic to it, but dislike the way that it makes the platform appear.

#3. And then some simply share their dislike of the new feature down to its core.

When Will Fleets Hit the Streets?

Currently, Twitter has not made any concrete decisions on the future of its fleets for the 2020 release. The fate of the fleets is partially in the hands of the citizens of Brazil, whether they like it or not. The media platform will need time for people to become comfortable with how to use it and gauge how they feel about it.

The feedback they are generating is helping Twitter to figure out the pros and cons of its potential new feature. Then, changes can be made to correct areas that weren’t generally popular among the first users.

Our Fleeting Conclusion

Currently, there seems to be a controversial nature to the fleets. The general public may never get the chance to form their opinion of the feature. With the ongoing march forward in social media, users should be ready for big changes taking place on social media platforms either way.

Published: August 09, 2020 | Updated: November 06, 2020
Megan Green

Megan Green

Megan is a writer who works at the junctures of science and stories. Previously, she has been the editor of a fashion magazine, an educator, mom, and a baker. She is keen on working with brands and lifestyle products, and outdoor tasks. Megan is outgoing, optimistic and has a great personality. She delivers top-notch content with a unique view on usual things.

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