Twitter Dipping Bird Feet in Stories Space with Fleets

Fleets could bring story and SnapChat-like ephemerality to the platform

Why This Matters

Tweets have undergone significant changes over the years, but a stories-like format that deletes the content after 24 hours might appeal to Twitter-shy Instagram Stories and SnapChat fans.

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A fleeting thought, you know you've had them. They pop into your head and then, just as quickly, are gone. That's the crux of the messaging test Twitter started this week in Brazil, and it's called, obviously, Fleets.

How do we know? Twitter announced the trial function in a Portuguese-language blog post, noting that, "Brazil is one of the countries where people talk the most on Twitter, with many of you passionate about talking and following other Brazilians on the platform."

How do Fleets work? In the Twitter post and video demo, Fleets may have a permanent home on the Twitter interface, living as user icons at the top of the page, similar to what you see in Instagram for Stories (which also disappear after 24 hours). You start a Fleet by clicking your own profile pic, then typing in text, or adding an image, video, or GIF. People can respond to the fleeting thought through Twitter Direct Messages (DMs), which are private.

Why would Twitter do this? Twitter desperately wants to open the platform to a broader set of users. As it says in the blog post, "some people say they feel insecure to Tweet because Tweets are public, permanent, and exhibit public engagement counts (likes and Retweets)."

So Fleets are private? No, Fleets are public. Anyone who visits your profile can see them, but only for 24 hours, then the fleeting thought is gone from Twitter. And, notably, there are no likes or retweet counts, which is very un-Twitter-like.

Sure' it's in Portuguese, but you get the gist of what a Fleet is. Twitter

What does this mean for Twitter? It's a major feature test in a country that has a long and storied social media history. How Brazilians respond to Fleets will define if they spread throughout the world and into the U.S. If they prove popular, Twitter's user base could skyrocket (SnapChat's magic sauce is disappearing messages and Instagram Stories were a massive boon to Instagram).

Bottom Line: The ability to start a public, judgement-free Twitter conversation that evaporates after a day fundamentally changes the Twitter experience. Tweets are, as of now, considered part of the public record. The Library of Congress is archiving many of them. Of course, you can't archive what disappears. One can only wonder what this will mean if full-time tweeter President Donald Trump gets his hands on Fleets.

Via: TechCrunch

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