Last Updated: November 16, 2021
Twitter’s Fleet feature will be removed from the app starting August 3. The decision was announced via a tweet from the official Twitter account coupled with a blog post. The tweet finished off with “we’re sorry or you’re welcome,” referencing the divided reception the feature had gotten during the nine months it’s been a part of the platform.
Fleets was introduced in November 2020 as Twitter’s version of the well-known Stories model pioneered by Snapchat and later adopted by Instagram, Facebook, and others. The gist was the same—a user shares a picture (or tweet), and it disappears after 24 hours. It doesn’t get any likes, retweets, or public replies. Although the feature itself didn’t gain much popularity, it’s Twitter’s decision to start running ads on Fleets that further drove the feature into the ground.
The aim of Fleets was to “help more people feel comfortable joining the conversation on Twitter.” However, the company accepts the fact that it didn’t achieve that goal, hence the decision to say goodbye to Fleets and move on to other ventures.
Twitter’s blog post reflects this outlook, saying, “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.”
As a platform with over 330 million active monthly users, Twitter has a responsibility to respect and conform to their users’ wishes. And it seems that Twitter made the right choice if the replies to its tweet are an indication of the users’ opinion on Fleets. While an overwhelming number of the replies are by users asking for an “Edit” button, a reply saying “The 5 people who used Fleets must be really disappointed” got over 39 thousand likes. However, users also appreciated Twitter’s honesty and acceptance that the feature just didn’t work.
Why Is Everyone Trying to Make “Stories” Happen?
In October 2013, Snapchat introduced a new feature to their app—Stories. This feature is instrumental in Snapchat’s rise to becoming a major platform. Stories helped Snapchat stand out from other social media platforms at the time and establish a large userbase. Today, Snapchat’s stories get around 10 billion views daily.
Competitors recognized the potential of Stories, and since the launch of this feature, many have copied and integrated it into their own platforms. Instagram “broke the ice” by introducing Instagram Stories in 2016. It was obvious to everyone that the feature was a blatant copy of Snapchat’s Stories.
However, the new feature turned out to be the right move for Instagram as its Stories feature has since surpassed Snapchat’s in popularity. In fact, its popularity is more than double compared to Snapchat Stories.
Instagram’s success encouraged others to incorporate the 24-hour disappearing images model into their platforms. This brings us to today, when apps such as Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, and, of course, Twitter, have joined the club, and Stories has become the go-to feature for many.
Although many of the above features have become successful, if the userbase doesn’t accept it or it’s wrongly executed, this feature may fail, as is the case with Twitter Fleets.