Stories-like disappearing messages will soon be a thing of the past.
After eight months, Fleets are officially gone.
Wednesday, Twitter confirmed that it ended its experiment with disappearing messages, called Fleets, on August 3. According to the company, the Stories-like posts at the top of mobile Timelines never really caught on – or at least, not the way Twitter had hoped.
Ilya Brown, Twitter’s vice president of product, wrote in a blog post announcing the decision, “We hoped Fleets would help more people feel comfortable joining the conversation on Twitter.” “However, we haven’t seen as many new people joining the Fleets conversation as we’d hoped.”
Back in November of 2020, Twitter launched Fleets to much fanfare. The logic at the time, so far as Twitter articulated it, was that posts that automatically disappeared after a 24-hour window would encourage otherwise shy users to post more.
In 2020, Twitter teased, “That thing you didn’t Tweet but wanted to but didn’t, but got so close but then said no.” There’s a place for that now-Fleets!”
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 described Fleets as a “place” for disappearing content. Historically, Fleets was a segmented product that stood apart from the core of Twitter. Users were unable to prevent tweets from being automatically deleted after a certain period of time with Fleets. Instead, the company created a special place where users could temporarily dump images or videos.
Brown explained how Fleets were being used in his blog post on Wednesday.
“While Fleets were designed to relieve some of the anxieties that hold people back from Tweeting, most Fleets are used by those who are already Tweeting to amplify their Tweets and talk directly to others.”
Twitter has not yet allowed users to set future expiration dates for their tweets as a result of its decision to retire Fleets.
“We’re still exploring ideas like this and others to help people feel more comfortable joining the conversation,” stated a spokesperson.
However, Brown insisted that this is not the last Twitter product that may get spun up only to be unceremoniously later killed off.
If we aren’t evolving our approach and winding down features every once in a while, Brown wrote, we aren’t taking enough risks.
There are only three weeks left for Fleets, so it may be a short life for a feature that is already dying by natural causes. Now is the time to say goodbye to Fleets, before it disappears for good.