Fleets are the newest feature from Twitter that veers away from the permanence and public nature of normal Tweets. You can post your thoughts and pictures for your network to see, but they cannot reply or comment to it. And like in Snapchat and Instagram Stories, this particular feature is ephemeral, meaning they disappear after 24 hours of being posted. This new feature was designed to encourage lurkers to post on Twitter without fear of public ridicule actively. Let’s get to know this newest feature and discover how it can change people’s post Tweets.
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a highly popular news and social networking sites where people communicate in short messages called tweets. Aside from being a popular social media platform, Twitter is also known as a microblogging service that allows people to share their thoughts in small doses for others to read. Most companies on Twitter take advantage of the platform to gain visibility for their brands. Twitter has also evolved as the perfect platform for politicians and social media influencers whose thoughts and posts people want to hear. In truth, social media influencer profits are on the rise.
The software even generated its own slang term to describe posting tweets, aptly called tweeting. Registered users of the software can post, like, and respond to tweets of the people they follow on the site, while non-registered users can only view posts but not respond to them. Another notable aspect about Twitter is that it has word limitations per Tweet, which the developers hope will help people get to the point and save their readers time and effort. This rule of brevity applies to all kinds of Tweets, including Fleets.
Twitter also belongs to the select number of social media sites that e-commerce platforms rely on to reach out to their particular target markets. It’s one of the most fertile platforms to advertise products and to improve brand visibility for everyone to see. Businesses also benefit from these websites’ algorithms to create and targeted ads.
Check out this article about the best social media sites for your e-commerce business. Twitter works on multiple platforms and devices. The software is available as a desktop software compatible with macOS and Windows and as a mobile software compatible with Android and iOS devices.
Tweets Keep It Short but Meaningful
Twitter is one of those platforms that impose brevity on posts across the board, and the current limit is at 280 characters per Tweet. The original limitation per Tweet used to be 180 characters, which was imposed in order to accommodate SMS messaging. Many users found this limit too restrictive since they couldn’t explain what they meant. The developers then decided to expand the character limit to almost twice the original number to allow people to be more expressive and perhaps to allow them to add in polite phrases like “please” and “thank you.”
This two-paragraph leg space might appear restrictive when compared to other equally popular social media websites. For example, Facebook imposes a whopping 63-thousand character limit for each post, YouTube with a five-thousand character limit for video descriptions, and Instagram imposes a two-thousand character limit for each written post. But then again, the only people who like to read long posts are the ones posting them. In fact, experts have stated that posts between 1 and 40 characters generate 86% more engagement than longer posts, which speaks of audiences’ limited attention spans.
How Does Twitter Work?
Twitter follows the same concept as other social media websites. Basically, you can post messages that your network of contacts can read. Instead of sending individual text messages, you can broadcast one message to your Twitter account. The service distributes the message to all of your followers.
But before you can do anything, you’ll need to have a free account. Registration is straightforward and simply asks for your email address, a password, and a Twitter name that people can use to add you to the website. Once you have an account, you can already start Tweeting in the form of written texts, photos, or six-second video clips. But before you post anything, it’s always a good idea to start building your network of contacts first. As a user, you can invite other people to join your network or you can follow other users.
The Twitter community has initiated this follow-back etiquette, which says that you should follow people who have followed you for the sake of courtesy. But if you have security concerns, you are welcome to skip this tradition. Your Twitter feed will show other people’s posts, and it will change day and night as the people you follow post their Tweets. You can follow and unfollow other people anytime, and you can also set your account to private.
Setting your account to private will limit the visibility of your Tweets, comments, replies, and retweets to the people belonging to your network. Even the home page of your account will be locked from outsiders and it will indicate “Tweets are protected.” On the other hand, public tweets are visible to everyone regardless of whether or not they have a Twitter account.
What are Fleets?
Twitter has been testing out a new feature in Brazil, Italy, India, and South Korea while we were in quarantine. No, it wasn’t the newest artificial intelligence bot that can function as fake followers. It’s much more mundane than that. It’s the newest addition to the list of Twitter features, which th Twitter has dubbed as “fleets.” We’re used to hearing strange-sounding names from big tech, and like those companies that sat at the conference table thinking of a name, the Twitter team most likely did the same. Clearly, the team went for a creative rendering of the word “fleeting,” which aptly describes the vanishing Tweets posted with this feature. And if we’re still not clear about what fleets are, they are basically temporary Tweets.
If you have ever encountered Instagram or Snapchat Stories, this is practically the same feature with a different name. This just might be Twitter’s response to the popular feature seen on other social media platforms. And to be fair with Twitter, we like that Fleets can take on the form of a brief message, a photo, or a re-tweet. Your Fleets posts won’t appear on your main timeline but will be visible to your entire network over 24 hours. And like other social media websites, fleets will simply disappear after 24 hours.
The most important factor that makes fleets different from Stories is the fact that people on your network will be able to view but cannot respond to the fleet. That’s because the like, dislike, or comment options have been disabled for this feature. Twitter just rolled out Fleets, and it will be available for Android and iOS apps soon enough. If you like secure chats, also check out this list of the best encrypted messaging apps for secure chatting.
Why Did Twitter Introduce This Feature?
Fleets are the perfect way to remove the risks associated with normal Tweets’ permanence and public nature. This is at the heart and center of fleets. But then again social media sites seldom roll out a feature unless they had some highly practical reason and some facts-based evidence. First and foremost, Twitter itself admitted that they intended the feature for sharing fleeting thoughts that you want to disappear and don’t want to see your timeline. It’s a backdoor where people can still share their thoughts. But all of it is considered off the books, so to speak.
Second, Twitter also noted the large number of users who passively read posts compared to those who are actively posting. Twitter called these people lurkers as they rarely or almost never post their own Tweets. Twitter noted the most common reason for the non-posting behavior has consistently been fear of being flamed. The term is closely synonymous with public persecution or scolding for a comment that a person said or posted. Most normal people can probably relate to this fear, and Twitter believes that a self-destructive feed might encourage these fearful users to finally speak up without fear of negative feedback.
We’re also imagining that this is a haven for people who may have been the targets for cyberbullying and discrimination online. Let’s face it: the internet is a hostile place. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin reported that they discovered a total of 15,000 bullying-related Tweets per day. Some of these Tweets might be positively tackling and empowering bullying positively. Nevertheless, it is still clear that bullying remains a serious issue even on Twitter. In that case, Fleets can counteract these events and allow people to speak more freely than before.
Fleets Are Like Instagram and Snapchat Stories
Anyone who’s been following social media websites closely knows that Snapchat started the self-destructing post trend. This was followed by Instagram, who basically copied the idea and even gave it almost the same title, then Twitter with these fleets. It’s quite obvious that the success of similar features on Instagram and Snapchat pressured Twitter to create something similar. The Stories feature on both Instagram and Snapchat were both a success and people began to use them regularly. Twitter wanted to achieve the same and provide the same level of anxiety-free sharing for their users.
The objective was always to provide an anxiety-free social media experience. That objective was something that all three social media companies shared with the ephemeral posts. Nevertheless, there are notable differences between Instagram Stories, Snapchat Stories, and Twitter Fleets that tell them apart. And before we forget, it’s interesting to note that several government agencies are actually working on monitoring popular social media websites. Their objective is to detect, disrupt, and investigate terrorism-related acts proactively. Yes, you heard that right. In fact, the FBI has teamed up with Twitter to scan for potential terrorist plots.
What Differentiates Fleets From Stories?
The first distinction has to do with content. Snapchat Stories, for example, allows users to post videos, photos, doodles, and stickers that disappear after 24 hours. Luckily for Twitter, the Stories feature on both Snapchat and Instagram rely heavily on video and photos. This means Twitter has an open spot to capture audiences who prefer written posts over photos and video posts. Nevertheless, fleets also take the form of videos and photos that will disappear after 24 hours.
The second distinction has to do with clickable links. Instagram users can attach clickable links to images through the stories feature. But this privilege of posting links only applies to users who have more than 10,000 followers. Snapchat, on the other hand, allows any user to add clickable links to their stories with no special requirements. Basically, you can add a link to anything for any reason if you were using Snapchat. If you’re using the platform to show off your personalized products, you can add a link to your web store to purchase your goods. You can also just share a link to a YouTube video or a news article.
If you post anything on Snapchat with a link, your photo or video will appear with a More option at the bottom that members of your network can access. Fleets, on the other hand, don’t allow you to post any clickable links. The final distinction has to do with viewing times. With Snapchat, you can also control the viewing duration for your posts. You can set the timer for as short as four seconds. You can also freeze the post’s expiration by selecting No Limit. Fleets don’t give any options or controls for how long a viewer can see your post, and everything disappears as scheduled.
Final Thoughts on Twitter Fleets
Twitter has conducted social experiments, and the results have so far been favorable. As the results indicate, this new feature is something users will appreciate and use on a daily basis. However, there have been reports of unexpected drawbacks that come with the feature. For example, some of its users users said it provided worrying opportunities for online harassment, like allowing unwanted direct messages. Fleet users can also tag people who have blocked them which, in a sense, goes against the concept of blocking someone. Twitter had already stated that they are currently working on solutions to fix these issues. Despite these temporary drawbacks, many people would still agree that Fleets remains a good feature. And it’s especially poignant for reminding us what free thought and free speech mean. And if you want to download Twitter videos, check out this guide explaining how to download Twitter videos.