Twitter is Shutting Down Its Fleets Feature Less Than 12 Months After Launch
Twitter Fleets, the ephemeral “fleeting” tweet feature that remains at the top of your timeline, is having its plug pulled within less than a year since its launch date. Last week, Twitter announced that its Fleets feature (reminiscent of Snapchat or Instagram Stories) is shutting down because no one has been accepting it the way the company had expected it to. That means the target audience did not adopt Fleets well as hoped or predicted. It may be that they preferred not to use this style of post in Twitter, but in the last 9 months users did not utilise Fleets, or perhaps they were confused about this feature. Nevertheless, Twitter said Fleets will expire on 3 August 2021.
In what is a strange event for the tech giant, openly Twitter is declaring that Fleets was a blunder and that it has lived its course. Many people don’t even know what “Fleets” are/were. In short, Fleets are these small bubbles that are located on the top of your Twitter timeline like a short-lived highlight reel. Not only did Twitter say that “we’re sorry or you’re welcome”, but it also admitted that it could not make new users come to the platform because of Fleets. In the beginning, people were interested in posting Fleets, but the trend did not last long as the novelty subsided.
What Did Twitter Learn?
According to Twitter, users have been only posting their own tweets there just to increase their reach. This is why Twitter figured that it would be best to just let go of Fleets altogether. Yet, Twitter has learned lessons from Fleets, such as text-formatting and GIF stickers were among the picks of actually popular features. So, Twitter is going to blend these features into the normal Tweet button that you notice in the app.
Twitter's decision to remove Fleets comes from a practical standpoint. This is because Twitter has been hoping to drive new users on board, but even though Fleets came out as a fun feature to experiment with, it was not sustainable for its audience base. Twitter Fleets was introduced as an answer to the “Stories” function that you see on plenty of apps now. Snapchat came up with the concept originally, but Facebook and Instagram have adapted it since to work on their own platforms.
What's next after Fleets for Twitter?
Twitter has new features in store for its users, and the great thing is that the Twitter team is learning their lesson from Fleets (even if it was a little on the embarrassing side - at least they gave it a red hot go!) In a PR blog, Twitter confirmed its next move where it said the company would develop other alternative ways for people to join the conversation. Stay tuned.
The main thing we noticed (even though we barely used Fleets on Twitter) was that Fleets are first and foremost handled by people who already tweet a lot. This gave them the advance to be pushing content to the top of their followers’ timelines, which overall slightly increased their reach.
"We'll analyse more ways to focus on what keeps people back from engaging on Twitter. And for the users who already are Tweeting, we are focused on preparing this better for you," Twitter said in a blog post.
Overall, the “trendy” feature of Fleets is that users are able to choose fleeting photos or videos. The positive news is that Twitter will assess updates to tweet composer and camera to integrate some features from Fleets. We expect features such as a full-screen camera, text formatting preferences, and GIF stickers that were attractive on Fleets adapted to the normal tweet composer.
Well, we didn’t expect Twitter to end a feature that was launched not even a year back so soon. This establishes an example for other platforms like Facebook, which continues to push out new and experiment with new features all the time (perhaps they are a little more stealthy with their failures?) Google has different features and services constantly in development as well, some of which are very trendy while others are not even recognised.