Twitter Fleets, the ephemeral tweet feature that sits atop your timeline, is retiring too soon. Twitter on Wednesday announced that Fleets is, well, fleeting because no one is using it the way the company intended it to. That means that people are not properly utilising Fleets or are unclear about the feature or just do not want to use Fleets. Twitter said Fleets will go away on August 3 and in its place, you will see Spaces, the Clubhouse-like audio sessions, like you do now.
In what is a rare event, Twitter, a tech giant, is admitting that Fleets was a mistake and that it has lived its course. Not only did the company say that, but it also accepted that it could not make new users come to Twitter because of Fleets. In a nutshell, Fleets are these small bubbles that are found on the top of your Twitter timeline. Initially, people were curious to post Fleets, but the fad did not last long.
According to Twitter, people who are using Fleets are actually posting their own tweets there just to amplify their reach. And that is why Twitter thinks it is best to let go of Fleets. However, Twitter has the learnings from Fleets, such as text-formatting and GIF stickers were among favourites. So, Twitter is going to incorporate these features into the regular Tweet button that you see in the app.
Twitter's decision sounds sensible because the company has been struggling to get new users onboard, and even though Fleets began as a good thing to play with, it could not do that. Twitter Fleets was launched as an answer to Stories that you see on a plethora of apps now. Snapchat invented the concept but Facebook's Instagram popularised it.
"We hoped Fleets would help more people feel comfortable joining the conversation on Twitter,” Ilya Brown, vice president of product at Twitter, said in a statement. “But, in the time since we introduced Fleets to everyone, we haven’t seen an increase in the number of new people joining the conversation with Fleets like we hoped.”
Twitter is killing Fleets at a time when it was in the middle of implementing advertisements on it. According to the company statement, it successfully completed the experiment with advertisements on Fleets with a handful of advertisers. But, since the feature is going away, it is unclear if Twitter will plan to bring full-screen ads in other parts of the app.