22 July 2021
Twitter announced Fleets last year as a new way for people to help them start a conversation with the world. While the feature was made available to everyone, it, however, was pitched specifically for the users who want to use the platform without feeling insecure about the engagement counts (Likes and Retweets).
Just like Instagram Stories, Twitter Fleets came as an ephemeral medium where your message, media, or even a tweet would stay for mere 24-hours. Perhaps, the feature itself couldn’t have a longer life as Twitter just announced it is winding down Fleets on August 3.
This is, however, good to note that Twitter has clearly put forward the reason behind this decision. In a blog post, Twitter has said that it wasn’t seeing the impact it hoped for. In its study, Twitter found out that while the feature was mainly launched to target inactive users, it was mostly used by people who are already Tweeting. They use it to amplify their tweets even further. Well, there isn't anything wrong with it but the main goal of Twitter which was to make more and more people active on the platform just got sidelined.
Twitter also observed through its study that most Fleets include media as people enjoy quick sharing of photos and videos. So, following this learning, it will soon incorporate features from the Fleets composer to the Tweet composer and camera. The top of the timeline will continue to feature Spaces, a Clubhouse-like feature to host and attend audio conversations.
While bidding adieu to Fleets, Twitter also mentioned that it will now pivot its focus on creating other ways for people to join the conversation. In addition to this, it will also assess how it can put those full-screen, vertical format ads on the platform now that the Fleets feature is going away.
We’re evolving what Twitter is, and trying bigger, bolder things to serve the public conversation. A number of these updates, like Fleets, are speculative and won’t work out. We’ll be rigorous, evaluate what works, and know when to move on and focus elsewhere. If we're not evolving our approach and winding down features every once in a while – we're not taking big enough chances.
Fleets will go away on August 3 but till then Twitter is allowing you to continue to use this feature, however, with a small change. No one can reply to your Fleet and react with emojis now as Twitter has taken away these abilities first. So, if you haven’t tried out this feature yet, now is the time as you might not get DMs over your Fleets. And, it's completely fine if you knew about its existence already and yet didn't share your fleeting thoughts with the world.