Twitter launches disappearing tweets called Fleets, sparking comparisons to Snapchat and mockery due to enema brand of the same name
- Twitter announced on Tuesday that it is rolling out disappearing tweets — called Fleets — to all users.
- The new feature instantly drew comparisons to Snapchat and Instagram stories.
- Fleets also prompted some raised eyebrows due to its name, which it shares with an enema brand.
Twitter's Fleets are here. And, people aren't quite sure how to feel.
On Tuesday, Twitter announced it is rolling out disappearing tweets, called Fleets. The feature functions similarly to Snapchat or Instagram stories, in that the Fleet — which could be a text, photo, or video — is live for just 24 hours.According to Twitter, the new feature rolls out for all users starting on Tuesday.
—Twitter (@Twitter) November 17, 2020Twitter previously tested Fleets in Brazil, Italy, India, and South Korea, design director Joshua Harris and product manager Sam Haveson said in a blog post. Harris and Haveson said that Fleets are intended to counter some people's discomfort that tweets can feel "so public, so permanent, and like there's so much pressure to rack up Retweets and Likes."
The feature sparked some raised eyebrows, both for its similarities to other platforms and its name — which it shares with an enema brand.Read more: Paid rest days and bedtime stories: How Twitter is keeping its culture alive as employees work from home
Fleets is already drawing comparisons to Snapchat and Instagram Stories
On the updated Twitter app, it is immediately clear why Fleets are drawing comparisons to Snapchat and Instagram Stories.Snapchat was the first major platform to bet on ephemeral posts that disappear after viewing or after a certain amount of time. And, Twitter's layout for Fleet's is remarkably similar to the circular stories at the top of Instagram.Like Instagram and Snapchat, people's responses to Fleets appear in the form of direct messages, unlike a typical tweet, which can be retweeted or replied to publicly.
Even Harris and Haveson acknowledged the overlap between Fleets and other platforms.
"This format may sound familiar to you!" Tuesday's blog post reads. "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."Many people on took to Twitter to remark on the similarities.
—Fiersa Besari (@FiersaBesari) November 17, 2020
—DevilTimeObito (@GodzNas) November 17, 2020
—Flight’s Burner (@FRBurnerAcct) November 17, 2020
Fleet shares a name with an enema brand, sparking mockery
Twitter's decision to name the feature Fleets also prompted some raised eyebrows.
Fleet is a well-established enema brand. So, some people questioned why Twitter decided to brand its disappearing tweets with this exact name.
—✨ Mikey Almeida ✨ (@mikey_almeida) November 17, 2020
—Renee Libby (@ReneeAlida) November 17, 2020
—Ian Bogost (@ibogost) November 17, 2020This isn't the first time someone has questioned Twitter's naming skills.
The response: "yes we know what fleets means. thanks - gay intern."
—Twitter Comms (@TwitterComms) March 4, 2020
People also questioned why Twitter prioritized Fleets over functions like an edit buttonSome people wondered why Twitter decided to roll out Fleets instead of focusing on features users are demanding, such as an edit button.
—Squimpus (@squimpus) November 17, 2020
—Zach (@gzach_) November 17, 2020
—samanthamarika (@samanthamarika1) November 17, 2020
However, the ability to edit tweets may never come to fruition. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told Wired earlier this year that the company has not rolled out editing to allow Twitter to stay true to its text-messaging roots."The reason there's no edit button [and] there hasn't been an edit button traditionally is we started as an SMS text messaging service," Dorsey said. "So as you all know, when you send a text, you can't really take it back. We wanted to preserve that vibe and that feeling in the early days."
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