Twitter is encouraging people back on its platform with timed, disappearing tweets called ‘Fleets.’
It’s hard to stay relevant if you don’t roll with the times – and Twitter appears to have finally realised it may be lagging behind the competition.
The platform has always been the place to go for minute-by-minute topical conversation and reactionary public opinion, but as links between poor mental health and social media usage continue to crop up with increasing regularity, it’s failed to adequately address the ‘high pressure’ environment that exists within the app.
If you don’t believe us, Twitter itself has admitted that many of its users leave tweets in their drafts never to see the light of day, and has openly stated that most of its users in 2020 lurk on the platform without communicating for fear of being scrutinised. It’s also seen a steady drop off in popularity over the past few years, particularly with younger users.
Twitter could be looking at a potential renaissance however, thanks to its new feature called Fleets. No doubt a take on the term ‘fleeting moments,’ this update is essentially Twitter’s version of Instagram Stories, where users can post content that will disappear after 24 hours.
‘We’ve learned that some people feel more comfortable joining conversations on Twitter with this ephemeral format, so what they’re saying lives just for a moment in time,’ said Joshua Harris, Twitter’s director of design, in a blog post.
This is a big departure from Twitter’s previous ethos that once tweets were out in the public domain, that’s where they’d stay. Aside from deleting tweets within your own profile, posting on the platform has always been rather unforgiving, with no post-publish editing tool available even now.
Up steps Fleets to alleviate some of that pressure and to make the Twitter experience a less taxing one for casual users learning the ropes. Retweet and likes mechanics are absent from timed posts, and only current followers can post reactions to your Fleet which will appear in private messages, much like Instagram DMs.
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
Appearing in a bubbles at the top of the screen, like Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and – as of last month – even LinkedIn, Fleets can include live/camera roll videos, GIFS, or photos, complete with nifty backgrounds, text overlays, and of course our beloved emojis. If you haven’t got it today, chances are you’ll receive the update in the next few days.
Social media is rife with misinformation and toxic content in 2020, and people are beginning to take public sharing and digital footprints far more seriously. Given this growing cynicism toward online news feeds, timed content that allows for spur-of-the-moment expression with no lasting repercussions is an appealing prospect and one that will no doubt serve Twitter well in the years ahead.
A lockdown Thred quiz titled ‘Who posted this?’ has certainly made the option of timed posts a welcome one on a personal level.