Back in early March 2020, Twitter announced that it was testing its own version of transient content (akin to the likes of Snapchat and Instagram stories) in Brazil. The feature is endearingly termed Fleets, just like its monosyllabic sibling, Tweet, which limits posts to 280-characters.
Just recently, Fleets has been made available in India with plans to roll out the feature to more countries around the world. After its initial test and launch in Brazil, Fleets was unveiled in Italy in June.
Commenting on Fleets’ debut in India, Manish Maheshwari, Managing Director of Twitter’s India, notes the importance of the achievement to Twitter given India is one of their “largest and fastest-growing audience markets globally”, further sharing that “We are excited to bring the Fleets experiment to India and make it one of the first three countries in the world to experience this new product.”
Maheshwari explains that rolling out Fleets to one of its major audiences would allow Twitter to assess emerging communication dynamics between the user and its new mode of conversation. Maheshwari adds that it is possible that Twitter would see Fleets result in a more diversifying type of content shared in a light-hearted manner.
Similar to stories-like posts, Fleets lasts for 24 hours and will vanish after the duration is up. However, unlike other social media platforms, users cannot retweet Fleets, and Fleets cannot receive reactions (ie likes).
Currently, no announcements have been made on whether Fleets will be released worldwide, and Twitter’s progression to add a new form of sharing on its platform comes as a naturally given that stories have been around for quite some time.
Although Twitter has been late to adopt the stories format, it might actually have started working on the stories concept for more than a year.
Kayvon Beykpour, the company’s head of product, shared his thoughts on the concept with The Verge that “I view that as another dimension that is really important for some customers: for some specific set of circumstances where you want to talk to people, but you’re not quite sure you want it to last forever yet. And so I think as a dimension to focus on, as a specific customer problem, absolutely, I’m very interested in exploring how we might give customers more control.”
India’s social network users have been increasing since 2015 and forecasted to be at 447.9 million users by 2023. To add, the pandemic had also resulted in an increase of social media consumption by Indian users from 3.13 hours per week back in January, to 4.39 hours per week in April. Perhaps it is not only high time but also a prime time for Twitter to expand beyond its 280-character posts.