After a couple of short months, Twitter is about to modify its Snapchat-like ephemeral post option, Fleets. The row of tweets that appear above your Twitter timeline that expire within 24-hours is going to be discontinued in August 2021, just eight months after launching to the broader public.
Twitter Discontinuing Fleets in August 2021
The introduction of Fleets in November 2020 was seen as how for Twitter to assist new users in seeking out their voice on the platform. But Fleets never took off within the way Twitter intended, and instead, the service was used mainly by established accounts to amplify their existing reach.
On the official Twitter blog, Head of Product, Brand, & Video Ads, Ilya Brown, elaborated on the explanations behind Fleets demise. The core reasoning is that, put. Fleets were meant to “Help more people feel comfortable joining the conversation on Twitter.” Still, since its arrival eight months ago, “We [Twitter] haven’t seen a rise within the number of latest people joining the conversation with Fleets.”
Brown’s blog post also confirms that while Fleets are done, Twitter will still explore other options and access points that enable new or quieter Twitter users to seek out a voice on the sometimes chaotic and challenging platform.
We’ll explore more ways to deal with what holds people back from participating on Twitter. And for the people that already are Tweeting, we’re focused on making this better for you.
The other important takeaway from the official blog is that while Fleets hasn’t been a hit, the media integration of Fleets has, and are some things Twitter will integrate into the regular tweet composer. These features include the full-screen camera, text formatting options, and GIF stickers.
Twitter is additionally keen to introduce the full-screen ads from the Fleets ad-placement test into the regular Twitter timeline.
A Fleeting Moment
Services like Twitter constantly evolve. It is the nature of the business. As we see with other social media platforms, you’ve got to throw tons of features at the wall to ascertain what sticks. Even a massive player like Twitter doesn’t win all of them during a competitive social media ecosystem.
In the world of ephemeral messaging, Twitter and its Fleets were up against stiff competition from the likes of Snapchat and Instagram, both of which have massive audiences already using what’s effectively an equivalent service.
If they do not have the follower numbers on Twitter (or even a network of family and friends to tweet at), there’s little sense in switching to a replacement service to shout into the void, albeit Fleets were designed to spice up user engagement.
For many, Ilya Brown’s parting comments will hit home: “We’re not taking large enough chances.”
Unfortunately, like the sudden rush for each social media platform to repeat the overnight success of Clubhouse, the result’s a stagnant market or useless feature, and Twitter’s plan to replicate the ephemeral messaging found on other services feels an equivalent.