Nothing stands still in the social media world for long, that’s part of the reason we love it so much – there’s rarely a dull moment. But, just when you thought the trend of here-today-gone-tomorrow content was done with, along comes Twitter with its oddly named Fleets. 

A squished-up version of ‘fleeting moments’, Fleets last just 24 hours, and are to Twitter what Stories are to LinkedIn and Instagram and, more recently, Vanish mode is to Messenger and Instagram. Or what they all are to Snapchat. 

Confused? Let us explain. The boffins at Twitter wanted to give new or shy users the chance to dip a toe in the platform’s conversational waters, without getting bogged down in likes and retweets. 

With us so far? Jolly good. Now, this is where Fleets come in. Users can post text, or reactions to tweets with the tweet attached, as well as photos and videos, all of which can be personalised with snazzy backgrounds or fonts. 

Here’s where you can go a bit cross-eyed if you don’t pay attention. You can reply to Fleets by sending a private Direct Message, but only if you follow the person you’re contacting and they follow you OR if the person you want to reply to has their Direct Messages set to open.

“We’ve learned that some people feel more comfortable joining conversations on Twitter with this ephemeral format, so what they’re saying lives just for a moment in time,” wrote Joshua Harris, director of design, and Sam Haveson, product manager, in a blog. 

We’ll have to wait and see if Fleets bring a host of new blood to the platform, but the feature certainly has got its work cut out for it with the sudden rush of short-term competition. Tell us which are your favourites and we’ll tell you ours… 

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