Introducing Twitter Fleets

Image of Fleets on the Twitter app

If you’re a regular Twitter user, you may have noticed a recent addition to the very top of your Twitter app – a new set of content named “Fleets”. The full-screen content featuring images or videos is the latest in a range of updates to Twitter, and showcases media content from the people you follow on your Twitter account. The update has been met with controversy, both due to its unpredicted arrival and Fleets’ similarity to Instagram’s Stories and SnapChat’s features.

Fleets Have Launched

Although the launch of Twitter Fleets was mentioned early on in 2020, the feature has come as much of a surprise to the social media channels users. It’s hardly a surprise with everything 2020 has thrown at us that the launch of a temporary tweet feature probably hasn’t been at the forefront of many people’s minds. The introduction of Fleets has been met with such disdain that one of the top Google search terms relating to Fleets, after the population wondering what they even are, is “Can I Get Rid of” them?

So What Are Twitter Fleets?

Twitter Fleets are ephemeral (fleeting) tweets. Fleets can be made from text, reactions to other tweets, video or photos, and are completely customisable using additional graphics, text and backgrounds. Stickers and live broadcasting have been promised as upcoming advantages to the platform. The feature also allows you to share a tweet (“Fleet a Tweet”) of either your own or others, with your followers or with a specific list of Twitter users.

One of the key features of Fleets is that they have been created so users can share their fleeting thoughts. Once uploaded, a Fleet will disappear after 24 hours. Any of your followers can see your Fleets as can anyone with access to your full profile, and the same goes for people responding to your Fleet via DM or through an emoji reaction. The benefit behind Fleets is that you can share ideas and thoughts with your audience ‘on the go’ and in a completely temporary way. This is in response to people wanting to share what’s on their mind and start dialogues, without the pressure of a fully formed thought being around forever in a Tweet on their timeline. The Fleets feature is also designed to enable users to more easily have conversations. Or it can be a place to share that thing you wanted to say but then thought twice about, safe in the knowledge it’ll disappear after a set amount of time.

“Those new to Twitter found Fleets to be an easier way to share what’s on their mind. Because they disappear from view after a day, Fleets helped people feel more comfortable sharing personal and casual thoughts, opinions, and feelings.”

Twitter, November 2020

How Do You Create Fleets?

You can post a Fleet on the Twitter app by creating your own Fleet content such as text, content from your phone’s photo roll, taking a new photo or video, or by sharing an existing Tweet in a Fleet by tapping the Share button under any Tweet and selecting ‘Share in a Fleet’. Then you have the option to add extra text or emojis to have your say about the content you’re sharing.

You can view who’s seen your Fleet by choosing the “Seen by” text once you’ve tapped into your Fleets. Once you’ve tried out Fleets you can offer Twitter your opinions using the hashtag #FleetsFeedback as they are still being updated and developed.

What are the Pros and Cons of Fleets?

Fleets sit at the top of your Twitter timeline like Instagram Stories bubbles, so they’re easy to find and watch, especially if you’re already familiar with the Stories setup. The temporary videos are easy to create and view, and disappear after 24 hours so you can use them, particularly in business, if you have a specific time-limited promotion or news story you want to share. The premise of starting conversations can only be a positive thing as 2020 has brought communities closer together, and more people are turning to others online for advice and to share opinions so all voices can be heard.

Twitter Fleets don’t yet offer the breadth of advanced features as other temporary content apps such as Snapchat, TikTok or Instagram Stories, and they’re not available on the desktop version of Twitter. They also seem to have caught many off-guard as an attempt to be a fix-all to every user’s needs and to divert attention away from other platforms. Currently, there’s also nothing stopping anyone from screenshotting anything you post in a Fleet and sharing that as content on Twitter or elsewhere on the web so in online safety terms, it’s difficult to ignore this gaping flaw.

Twitter's new Fleets feature enables you to make more visual updates and bold statements safe in the knowledge they'll disappear after 24 hours! Click To Tweet

Some people may feel more comfortable taking part in conversations in this impermanent Fleets format. And it certainly feels less invasive and easier to share more personal feelings in this temporary way. Splitting Twitter content up using Fleets may also be advantageous into more bite-sized and digestive formats. What are your thoughts on Twitter Fleets? Will you be trying the new innovation any time soon?

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