We built Fleets as a lower-pressure, ephemeral way for people to share their fleeting thoughts. We hoped Fleets would help more people feel comfortable joining the conversation on Twitter. 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. Because of this, on August 3, Fleets will no longer be available on Twitter.
More broadly, I wonder if this is a problem that really needs to be solved. Or is even solvable, honestly. I think the thing about Twitter is that it has evolved with the idea of the public discourse in mind, with most things public. Writing a tweet is actually significantly less work than building a fleet was. The real problem is that some people don’t want to be quite that public. Perhaps that’s not a flaw of the platform but a realistic point to focus your network’s growth. If people don’t want to share in that way, that’s a parameter you must work around.
When tweeting, there occasionally comes a point where something gets too much attention and goes too viral. It’s happened to me. It can be overwhelming, and users have had no way to control that until now. That’s honestly the thing that discourages people from tweeting a lot of the time—the risk that what they write will get noticed.
This reply-limiting feature effectively offers a way to cut a post’s virality off at any time. (It still allows quote tweets, alas, but it’s a start.) I hope they lean into that some more.
Ultimately, good on Team Twitter for taking risks. But perhaps consider risks that don’t look like retreads from other social networks.