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This article was published on July 14, 2021

Good riddance, Twitter Fleets, you sucked from the start

Your life was fittingly brief

Good riddance, Twitter Fleets, you sucked from the start

Twitter has dumped Fleets in the graveyard of failed tech products.

Fleets were fullscreen tweets posts that disappeared after 24 hours, but the feature will vanish permanently on August 3. The format’s demise comes less than a year after its birth.

The top of the Twitter timeline will now be occupied by Spaces, the site’s attempt to ape Clubhouse.

Some elements of Fleets will live on, however. The tweet composer will now incorporate features such as the Fleets full-screen camera, text formatting options, and GIF stickers. 

Up-front: Fleets struggled from the start. The feature was an obvious copy of the Stories format popularized by Snapchat and Instagram that failed to catch on with Twitter users.

Twitter had hoped their knock-off would encourage people to tweet more regularly, but the feature struggled to gain traction from its November launch.

In a January survey, only 7.7% of monthly Twitter users said they’d viewed or posted fleets. Some 53% had never even heard of the feature.

“We hoped Fleets would help more people feel comfortable joining the conversation on Twitter,” said Ilya Brown, Twitter’s vice president of product, 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.”

Quick take: Fleets felt doomed from launch. The ephemeral format works well on Snapchat and Instagram, but it detracted from the appeal of Twitter’s core product.

Twitter had hoped that the feature would mitigate some of the anxieties that stop people from tweeting. But Brown said it was mostly used by people who already tweet, to amplify their messages or speak directly with others.

The company will now have to come up with new ways to make people post tweets as well as read them.

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