I spend hours on Twitter every day and have for years, even though it constantly makes me angry, sad, and confused. But all that time has taught me one thing—
But we’re not sure that’s a good thing.
That thing you didn’t Tweet but wanted to but didn’t but got so close but then were like nah.— Twitter (@Twitter) November 17, 2020
We have a place for that now—Fleets!
Rolling out to everyone starting today. pic.twitter.com/auQAHXZMfH
Earlier this year Twitter announced (in news we first came across at
“Fleets are for you to share your ideas and momentary opinions. These posts disappear after 24 hours and have no Retweets, likes or public comments. In an initial survey, people told us that, once the Fleets are gone, they are more comfortable sharing everyday and everyday thoughts. We hope that those people who are not usually comfortable with Tweeting use Fleets to talk about the reflections that come to their head.”
Twitter with less accountability and even fewer evidence of harassment? Not ideal! But the test must have been a success. Today the company announced it is rolling out the function for users everywhere.
Fleets won’t look all that different from regular tweets. They will be “based primarily on text,” and you will still be able to “include videos, GIFs or photos in them.” You’ll also be able to respond to them by clicking on a fleet and sending a Direct Message or emoji. And others will be able to respond to yours. “Your followers will be able to see your fleets at the top of their Home Page, and anyone who can access your full profile will also be able to find your Fleets there.” Also, users will be able to respond to your fleets if your DMs are open.
Fleets seem unlikely to save anyone from scrutiny or consequences anymore than Snapchat guarantees a photo will disappear forever. The “kids” know how to screengrab. And 24 hours is a long time for the “olds” to have it emailed to them.
The question is whether or not fleets will improve the Twitter experience for users as a form of communication. Maybe, maybe not. But at least fleets guarantee that after 24 hours we’re protected from ourselves. Because even though we know we should never tweet, we do it anyway. At least this way we won’t have to go back and delete them all ourselves later.