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Twitter Fleets: Valuable or Unnecessary?

Twitter is writing its own Story with its latest feature: ‘Fleets.’

I’ve been having trouble differentiating my favorite social media sites from one another recently. Whether I’m scrolling through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter - it’s all the same. From likes and comments to influencers and followers, the mainstream social media landscape has undoubtedly found a successful, albeit unoriginal, formula.

A few days ago, while bored and scrolling through my phone, I reached the realization that a new, common ingredient had been included to the revered social media recipe: the ‘Story.’ A feature originally unveiled on Snapchat in 2013, a Story was a format in which a user could share a photo or video with their followers, but only for a defined period of time.

The feature quickly gained popularity on Snapchat, allowing users to share laid-back updates with their followers without the formality of a permanent post. I loved posting Stories on Snapchat when they were originally introduced because it felt like I was just posting videos for my friends. Because of this, to me, Stories have always felt more personal.

The feature eventually began to gain buzz online, and Stories were subsequently added to Instagram in 2016, as well as to Facebook in 2017. While the feature seemed to lose its intimacy on these apps, it allowed users to easily share others’ posts to their own accounts for limited periods of time, an option I’m sure we’re all now grateful for. When marketing your brand online, Stories provide unrivaled engagement opportunities between your business and your customers.

While Stories have always made sense across Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook, my curiosity was piqued the other day when I discovered the feature had now been implemented on a fourth site: Twitter. It’s true, in November of 2020, Twitter rolled out its own form of Stories with ‘Fleets.’

In essence, they’re exactly the same as any other Story: photos or video available to your Twitter followers for a designated period of time. Posting a Fleet is as easy as posting a Story to your Snapchat, and they even appear horizontally at the top of your feed in a similar fashion to Instagram.

As social media has evolved in recent years into the massive business that it is today, I’ve often viewed Stories as a fun and useful product of digital and networking innovation. However, no matter how hard I try, I just can’t help but think that Twitter Fleets are a completely useless and unnecessary feature.

Twitter, by nature, is not your common social media site. Unlike Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, Twitter was never designed to be a place to connect and share with friends. Instead, Twitter was designed to be a tool in which users could quickly share information with the world, a tool in which news could be easily and informally distributed to massive online audiences.

With this in mind, Tweets have always been informal and personal in nature - a style Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have only ever managed to capture with Stories. Therefore, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where posting a Fleet would be more appropriate than just simply posting a Tweet instead.

Don’t just take my word for it - let’s take a look at three of the world’s largest brands: Coca-Cola, Microsoft and Disney. At the time of writing, all three of these global companies have multiple Stories posted across their respective Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook accounts. The same can’t be said for Twitter, where Fleets have seemingly been disregarded entirely.

When it comes to marketing your business online and across social media, Stories offer unrivaled opportunities for engagement and interactivity with your followers; if you’re looking to grow your brand’s presence online, the Story might be your best place to start.

However, when it comes to marketing your business on Twitter, you’re probably just better off saving your time and ignoring Fleets all-together.

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