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Fleet, we barely knew you. That is a phrase, but also the truth. That’s why Fleet, true to his namesake, lasts about eight months. Twitter launched this feature, a story-like tool that allowed users to post messages that would disappear after 24 hours, in November; then this week Twitter announced that the service would end with a very concise tweet: “We are removing fleets on August 3, working on some new things. sorry or welcome. “
Now the passage of the Fleet should definitely be filled with what seems to you a compliment (though it’s hard to imagine it was long enough for anyone to really mourn). But let’s talk about that other part – the “sorry or nothing” part. Has there ever been a more appropriate addition to a company’s message on social media these days? Has there ever been a more concise way to summarize how users deliver and receive changes across almost all platforms? I say no.
U blog post announcing the impending demise of Fleets, Ilya Brown, vice president of Twitter for the product, admitted that this feature was an experiment, which failed. “If we don’t develop our approach and abolish functions from time to time – we don’t risk big enough chances,” Brown wrote. It was a corporate blog version of a shrug emoji, and honestly, that’s fine, but it’s hard not to wish the whole post was just “sorry or nothing.” Twitter is sorry to take away this thing you didn’t ask for; you’ll never have to look at it again, you’re welcome. Twitter is sorry to take away this thing you may have liked, but you’ve had it for a while – you’re welcome. Twitter is sorry that you sometimes call it a “hell page”; but he also knows how much time you spend there. You’re welcome.
This is neither a digging on Twitter nor a celebration of his work. It simply is. The social media business lives and dies from how well it can adapt to new features. Sometimes these features look like things that are popular on other platforms (Fleets was a bit reminiscent of Instagram Stories, which looked like Snaps …), but Twitter has had a lot of success in tailoring tricks users have already pulled: creating a retweet feature that allows what people have already done with “RT”, allowing people to tag other users with the @ symbol. Maybe the Fleet failed because people hadn’t already done so – unless you count prevalence of deleting tweets.
Well, then Twitter’s apologetic language seems to seem most appropriate. Because if there is one thing Twitter should I’m sorry it adds low-demand features, not the ones people have been looking for for years. Like the Edit button. The appeal (I think) of the fleet was that it enabled more ephemeral thoughts; users were less worried about errors because the message disappeared in a day. But those fears would be reduced – and the need for fleets greatly diminished – if people knew they could fix the fucks in normal tweets. Twitter could also invest more resources in its efforts to moderate content and combat harassment, but that’s a different story.
In the end, the Fleets were as fleeting as their creators intended. It is OK. There are very few things in the technological world that are anything short of short-lived. (Remember the Twitter egg?) Maybe it’s best for everyone to accept that – especially Twitter. We’re sorry and you’re welcome.
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