Twitter’s Launches Its Own Take On Stories Dubbed ‘Fleets’

11 June, 2020 (Thursday)

Twitter has launched its own version of 24-hour ephemeral posts called ‘Fleets’ to rival Stories on Instagram. The feature was first tested in Brazil and has now started rolling out in India and Italy. 

Kayvon Beykpour, Product Lead at Twitter, introduced the feature to its Indian users with the tweet, “Namaste! Starting today, Fleets are coming to India. If you’re in India, check it out and let us know what you think! target="_blank"> #FleetsFeedback ”.

Much like its Instagram counterpart, Fleets allows users to share tweets, photos and videos that will be available on user’s profiles for 24 hours before disappearing. Moreover, people can only reply to Fleets with DMs and the options to like, retweet and reply publically, which form the backbone of the platform, won’t be available. Additionally, users can see the list of people who have viewed their fleet but taking a screenshot doesn’t send them any notification. Twitter faced a bit of slack from avid long time users of the app for its lacklustre implementation. It also faced slack for being unoriginal as the feature seems to bear a close resemblance to its counterparts on Instagram, Youtube, Whatsapp, Facebook and one that started it all—Snapchat.

Twitter, however, replied to this saying that several of its users feel insecure to tweet as all posts are public and permanent and anyone can engage with them through replies, likes and retweets. Furthermore, Twitter has become a highly volatile platform where old tweets from years ago are picked to shame users because of which several users don’t feel free to articulate their thoughts. Besides, Twitter said that it chose the stories format because it would resonate familiarity among people and would provide a more comfortable stage for them to express their thoughts. 

There are a few intentional differences that set the platform apart. Unlike other platforms where people only follow their friends and a few influencers they share interests with, Twitter has users who follow thousands of other users. This means that it needs to create a highly personalised order in which fleets will appear based who’s content the user is most likely to consume and this may vary from user to user. Sticking to its bare-bones roots, users won’t be able to make use of fancy editing tools but they will be able to add photos, GIFs and videos to their Fleets. The tweets can be up to 2 minutes and 20 seconds in length. To compose a Fleet, users need to simply click on the ‘+’ option next to neighbouring Fleets. 

Another thing that sets Fleets apart is the fact the users will have to swipe up to see consecutive Fleets from the same user. This, however, seems to be rather tedious and unintuitive and might be subject to change in future updates.

Twitter seeks to increase its user base and make it a more welcoming platform for people to express their feelings by introducing the new feature but the results are yet to be seen.