Twitter is beginning to test a stories feature, which they’re calling “Fleets”. They’re a little bit late to the disappearing content game, coming in behind Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and even LinkedIn.
What Are Fleets?
Fleets are essentially the same concept as stories on any other social media platform. The feature allows users to post videos, pictures, or other such content on their Twitter pages. The posts will subsequently disappear after a given amount of time, usually 24 hours.
Fleets won’t be able to get likes, replies, or retweets which means people can post without risk of going viral. Twitter is a very public platform, and the Fleets may be able to combat that fear in users.
The concept of stories has been around for years, so it seems that Twitter was initially resistant to implementing disappearing content on the platform.
Will People Use it Or Abuse It?
Part of that hesitation may come from the potential for users to abuse the feature. Twitter is well known for the small percentage of users that like to harass, troll, and otherwise turn Twitter into a very toxic place.
Some Twitter users expressed concerns that this new feature would empower those who already use Twitter to harass other users.
The idea of Fleets could also potentially put an end to the era of old tweets coming back to haunt celebrities and other public figures. Cancel culture largely stems from shaming big names on Twitter for past or present misdeeds. Some very much deserve this public shaming, others not so much. A lot of times, those who perpetuate cancel culture get their fuel from old tweets dug up to embarrass the subject of the canceling.
Fleets could eliminate all that, by erasing content long before it can be dug up and spread virally across the world. There are pros and cons to this.
A pro is that minor past mistakes can’t come back and damage a public image quite so easily. A con is a lack of accountability for those who really do Tweet atrocious things. Its good to remember that other users can always screenshot harassing content, or any content, so Fleets can be saved that way.
There are definite upsides to the concept of Fleets. Its a more relaxed way of posting that ideally will make people feel more comfortable Tweeting in an incredibly public platform. The idea is to promote fun and casual content.
If used the way that Twitter higher-ups undoubtedly intend, it’s a fine feature. I can’t picture myself posting a Fleet, but hey you never know what might catch on.
The problem Twitter faces is getting people to use the feature while simultaneously making sure people don’t abuse it. It seems like more trouble than it’s worth.
Fleets are rolling out on the Brazilian market starting Wednesday, and after testing is complete there they will expand the feature globally.