The social media giant Twitter announced Tuesday that the platform will now include an option for users to post something without the pressure of long-term commitment to what they tweeted. The company will now allow users to post “fleets”, or temporary posts that disappear 24-hours after being posted.
The company’s reasoning, according to a press release written by Twitter Design Director Joshua Harris and Product Manager Sam Haveson, is to take the pressure off people who are chiming in on “the public conversation” since the format of Twitter is generally open to public perusal.
According to Harris and Haveson:
…some of you tell us that Tweeting is uncomfortable because it feels so public, so permanent, and like there’s so much pressure to rack up Retweets and Likes. That’s why, unfortunately, there are so many 🔥 Tweets left in drafts! To help people feel more comfortable, we’ve been working on a lower pressure way for people to talk about what’s happening. Today, we’re launching Fleets so everyone can easily join the conversation in a new way – with their fleeting thoughts.
Ephemeral sharing is not new. It was pioneered by Snapchat in 2011, according to the New York Times, who reported “Facebook and its family of apps, including the photo-sharing site Instagram and the WhatsApp messaging app, have replicated the [disappearing posts] feature in recent years. Others, such as LinkedIn and Pinterest, have also followed suit.”
The Feature Has Been Tested in a Few Countries but Twitter Says It Will Still Continue to Update the Fleets Feature Based on User Feedback
That thing you didn’t Tweet but wanted to but didn’t but got so close but then were like nah.
We have a place for that now—Fleets!
Rolling out to everyone starting today. pic.twitter.com/auQAHXZMfH
— Twitter (@Twitter) November 17, 2020
Twitter has already tested out Fleets in Brazil, Italy, India, and South Korea, but they’re still learning about how people perceive and use the new option. According to the company, in the place where Fleets have been tested:
Fleets helped people feel more comfortable joining the conversation – we saw people with Fleets talk more on Twitter. Those new to Twitter found Fleets to be an easier way to share what’s on their mind. Because they disappear from view after a day, Fleets helped people feel more comfortable sharing personal and casual thoughts, opinions, and feelings. These are early findings from our tests and we’re excited to learn more about how Fleets are used by you.
Twitter differs from other social media outlets in that often it’s strangers or acquaintances interacting in conversation, rather than friends and family posting pictures of kids, travels or events to share with friends and family- though of course there is a small amount of that.
Though the feature seemed to have been embraced in the countries where its been tested, Twitter says they’ll continue to update Fleets “over time with new features, based on your feedback.”
Users Responding to the News Seem Only Mildly Interested in Fleets but What Many Really Want to Know Is Why Is There Still No Edit Option?
We now But still
have fleets no edit button pic.twitter.com/2YrBR7vXmB
— Mychal (@mychal3ts) November 17, 2020
Disappearing tweets may be a success, but considering you can already set your account as private and you can always delete a tweet, some users are tweeting about the bane of many-a-Twitter-user’s existences — There is no option to edit once you’ve posted.
A missing word, a typo, a misspelling — any error in a tweet is there to stay unless you delete the entire post, and it seems like an easy enough option to give users.
After all, you can edit text on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, according to Social Media Today, who reported Twitter Founder Jack Dorsey spoke to Joe Rogan about why there is no edit button on his podcast in 2019. Dorsey said:
The reason we don’t have edit in the first place is we were built on SMS, we were built on text messaging. Once you send a text, you can’t take it back. So when you send a tweet it goes to the world instantaneously. You can’t take it back. You could build it as such so maybe we introduce a 5-second to 30-second delay in the sending. And within that window, you can edit. The issue with going longer than that is it takes that real-time nature of the conversational flow out of it.
Still, Twitter users would like to be able to edit their posts. Twitter user @siushi tweeted in response to Twitter’s Fleets announcement, “that’s not how you spell ‘edit.’”
Another user, @docMcFly, wrote, “Two words: Edit Button”
You'll borrow other platforms' ideas, but won't add an edit button. pic.twitter.com/PbTnpUQyUX
— Gavin Sheehan (@TheGavinSheehan) November 17, 2020
— Charles Skaggs (@CharlesSkaggs) November 17, 2020
Twitter user @aqushl wrote, e-d-i-t t-w-e-e-t b-u-t-t-o-n, and another who goes by @Voltattoo said, “When an edit function was the obvious choice but Twitter twittered. Good job everyone.”
But the company says it’s hopeful the new option will mean more people may jump into the mix.
According to Harris and Haveson, “We’ve learned that some people feel more comfortable joining conversations on Twitter with this ephemeral format, so what they’re saying lives just for a moment in time. In the coming days, everyone globally will have Fleets on Twitter for iOS and Android.”
To find out more about how to use Fleets, follow this link.