Twitter is Testing its Own Version of Stories – Twitter Fleets – And the Internet Has Opinions

Twitter has hopped aboard the Stories bandwagon, and begun testing a feature that they are calling ‘Fleets‘.

The move isn’t surprising, given the increasing popularity of Stories formats. Starting life on Snapchat, the format is now prevalent on Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, Pinterest, and coming on LinkedIn. You might say it’s the natural evolution of social media.

But, in true Twitter outrage style, some users are not impressed, with #RIPTwitter trending soon after the news broke.

How do Twitter ‘Fleets’ work?

The test version shows a familiar interface: a rounded profile icon at the top, with a plus sign to add a Story. Oops, we meant a Fleet.

If people you follow have shared Fleets, their icons will appear horizontally across the top, highlighted with an outline if there’s something new to view.

Here’s what happens when you compose a Twitter Fleet:

One key differentiator, according to Twitter, is that Fleets are designed to provide users with a way of sharing that doesn’t feel so public. (Isn’t this the same for all ephemeral Story content, though?)

Twitter’s Product Lead, Kayvon Beykpour, announced in a thread:

Users can’t retweet, like or publicly reply to a Fleet – drawing parallels with other Story formats. The only way to respond is via DM. This gives users control over who can respond to them, via their DM settings.

One Actual Differentiator

When browsing through Fleets, the navigation is vertical, not horizontal. So, you advance through the Fleets by swiping down, instead of tapping through like pages. To move to the next person’s Fleet, you swipe left.

There is some speculation that this will need to change early on in testing, to adhere to the framework set by Stories on other platforms.

Where is Twitter Testing Fleets?

Twitter is conducting initial testing in Brazil.

What Do Twitter Fleets Mean for Brands?

Fortunately for us marketers, chances are, we’ve already got a Twitter profile, and are familiar with how Stories work. So there won’t be a huge learning curve. But it’s worth considering how your audience differs per social platform, and thinking about an upfront strategy so you can test and learn as soon as you get the chance.

What do you think about Twitter Fleets? Will you be straight aboard the first voyage? Or do you wish Twitter would just give us an edit button already? Let us know in the comments 👇

Suzie Ryan

Suzie is a Content Marketer for SmarterQueue based in London, UK. She loves helping brands and businesses find their voice through content and storytelling; and is particularly fond of the creative possibilities of social media as a platform. When she’s not writing, she’ll be found somewhere in North London, seeking out the bars that serve G&Ts in goblets. 🍸