We all remember Fleets, right? Back in November 2020, Twitter rolled out its Instagram Stories-like feature where people could post text and images available for 24 hours before disappearing for good. It suffered two faults in its first three days, before the social media company ditched it altogether just eight months later.
Now though, in yet another instance of Elon Musk completely misjudging the mood of Twitter users, the new(ish) CEO is considering bringing back the feature.
On Wednesday, Benny Johnson, a conservative commentator and member of Turning Point USA, clearly wanted the Tesla and SpaceX founder to settle a score between him and The Benny Show producer Alex “ALX” Lorusso about long gone social media networks.
He tweeted: “ALX wants Twitter to bring back Periscope. I want Twitter to bring back Vine.
“We are not the same.
“The war rages on @alx. Who will win @elonmusk?”
Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter
After ALX replied to say “both are inevitable”, Musk chipped in to say “some version of them both is inevitable”.
While that alone might suggest the billionaire is considering bringing back Vine – the shortform video app which was acquired by Twitter in 2012 and then shut down in 2016 – and/or the livestreaming platform Periscope (which was discontinued in 2021), news around Fleets came in a subsequent reply.
Andrea Conway, a designer at Twitter, added: “And fleets? [crossed fingers emoji]”
Musk responded: ”But not in the way it was done last time.”
\u201c@ehikian @alx @bennyjohnson But not in the way it was done last time\u201d— Benny Johnson (@Benny Johnson) 1682512526
In their blog post from July 2021, Twitter conceded they “haven’t seen an increase in the number of new people joining the conversation with Fleets like we hoped”, but that they did have some “learnings” from the flop.
Ilya Brown, then the vice president of product for health conversation and growth, wrote: “Although we built Fleets to address some of the anxieties that hold people back from tweeting, Fleets are mostly used by people who are already tweeting to amplify their own tweets and talk directly with others.
“We’ll explore more ways to address what holds people back from participating on Twitter. And for the people who already are tweeting, we’re focused on making this better for you.”
He also noted that most Fleets included media with people enjoying “quickly sharing photos and videos to add to the discussion on Twitter”, adding that features from Fleets like the full-screen camera and GIF stickers would be included in the main tweet composer – and they have.
Whether Musk will take on board any of these learnings from the first time around, and what exactly Fleets 2.0 will look like, is yet to become clear.
Though what is certain, is that the possibility of its return has divided Twitter:
\u201cremember fleets? twitter\u2019s very own version of an Instagram Story?\n\nwell, they\u2019re making a comeback \ud83d\ude2d\ud83d\udc40\ud83d\udcad\ud83d\udc47\u201d— annie-mai (@annie-mai) 1682577053
\u201cOk, for real, if Fleets is coming back @elonmusk you are going to need to give me my job back.\u201d— Patrick Czapla (@Patrick Czapla) 1682547773
\u201c@elonmusk @ehikian @alx @bennyjohnson I like fleetz! I used to get more readers when I was able to share videos & photos of things I did during the day in fleets & then I included the Tweet article between the activities. \ud83e\udd2a\u201d— Benny Johnson (@Benny Johnson) 1682512526
\u201c@elonmusk @ehikian @alx @bennyjohnson I only disliked fleets because they were identical to Instagram stories\u201d— Benny Johnson (@Benny Johnson) 1682512526
\u201c@PopBase I thought Fleets were a cool feature. \n\nKinda excited about this tbh\u201d— Pop Base (@Pop Base) 1682536306
\u201c@PopBase It\u2019s like he in a competition to make the worst decisions for this app\u201d— Pop Base (@Pop Base) 1682536306
\u201c@PopBase oh the late night D reveals will be immaculate again\u201d— Pop Base (@Pop Base) 1682536306
\u201c@TitterDaily inb4 this is just code for "Blue only"\u201d— T(w)itter Daily News \uea00 (@T(w)itter Daily News \uea00) 1682533547
\u201cFleets are coming back \ud83e\udd79\u201d— Alessandro Paluzzi (@Alessandro Paluzzi) 1682533226
It’s also unknown whether we’ll see an influx of people posting nudes to their Fleets again, either.
Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.