Twitter Fleets Brings Instagram-Like Disappearing Stories

Twitter has announced the rollout of a new feature, Twitter Fleets, for its mobile users in India. The feature finally brings Twitter at par with the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp, wherein users will get to post temporary updates on their Twitter profiles, which will last only for 24 hours. As seen with such disappearing format posts on other platforms, Twitter Fleets will also only be available for the set time period, beyond which the posts will disappear from the platform. Users will be able to see the posts, but not get to like, retweet or post public responses to them. Any replies made to Fleets on Twitter will directly appear as replies in Twitter’s direct messages tab, which suggests that Twitter’s DMs may just become a more active place in the near future.

The feature is initially being rolled out only to Twitter’s Android and iOS apps. Moreover, it is a test rollout, so it is likely that some of us may face some delay in getting Fleets. The only sure way of checking this is by keeping an eye out for an update to the Twitter app on either of the two mobile platforms. Once the update is rolled out, users eligible for testing of Fleets will see an interface similar to the image attached above. However, Twitter has confirmed that all of its India users are going to get access to Fleets, which is encouraging. India is the third market where Twitter is rolling out Fleets, after Brazil and Italy.

In a press statement, a Twitter spokesperson said about Fleets, “We learned from research that people don’t Tweet because Tweets are public, feel permanent, and display the number of Retweets and Likes. We hope Fleets will empower many more people to express themselves more freely.” Much like Instagram or Snapchat, users can simply tap on their profile photos to access Fleets, and thereby the posting process should follow a similar interface as we are used to with Instagram Stories and other similar platforms.

“From the test in India, we’ll learn how adding a new mode of conversation changes the way Indians engage on Twitter. It’ll also be interesting to see if it further amplifies the diversity of usage by allowing people to share what they’re thinking in a way that is light-touch and light-hearted,” said Manish Maheshwari, managing director of Twitter India, about the launch of Fleets in the country.

With Twitter largely focusing on public posting so far, the addition of disappearing posts on the platform, that too in a format that most people are largely used to, can be seen as a move to drive more engagement on the platform. It will be interesting to see how people take to the feature going forward, and what Twitter’s strategy would be in terms of rolling out the feature at a larger scale around the world.