Twitter has been testing its temporary tweets for a while, which disappeared after the 24-hour feature. This feature, called “Squadrons”, lets you compose a tweet that isn’t in your main timeline. If you’ve ever used the Snapchat Stories feature, which was later adopted by Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, you already know what Fleets looks like. However, Twitter not only copied the “Stories” feature, but instead implemented what it assumed. In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about Twitter Fleets and how you can use it on your profile.
What are Twitter Fleets?
As mentioned, Twitter Fleets are a response to the popular “Stories” feature we’ve seen on other social media platforms. According to Twitter, Fleets are for sharing fleeting thoughts that you want to disappear and don’t want to see on your timeline. Like any other service, Fleets disappears after 24 hours on Twitter. Fleets are great for shipping something mundane and less permanent.
What Separates Fleets from Stories?
The biggest thing that separates Fleets from Stories is, ability to share clickable links. If you’ve used Instagram Stories before, you know you can’t share clickable links in stories unless you’re verified or you have 10,000 followers. I’m happy to see that Twitter isn’t going the same way. There are other creative differences as well, but this is the biggest and most advantageous difference Fleets have over Stories.
How to Create Twitter Fleets
Creating Twitter Fleets is easy. On your profile, there is a Fleets carousel at the top. Besides showing the Fleets of people you follow, it also shows your profile picture with a “+” icon at the beginning.
1. Tap the icon to open the compose window.
2. Here you can write your thoughts and paste the links. Just like regular Tweets, you can send fleets of up to 280 characters.
3. You can also: add hashtags and sayings. Just type ‘#’ or ‘@’ followed by the text and it will show you suggestions as shown below.
4. Tap the “camera” or “image” button to add images and videos.
5. Tap the “Aa” button at the top right to add text to your photos and videos.
6. Similarly, you can add gif By tapping the “GIF” button. A window will open where you can search for gifs. Note that you cannot add text on top of gifs.
How to View Fleets
If someone you follow has access to the Divisions and has shared a quick thought, you’ll see it in the carousel at the top of the home feed. You can also find fleets by visiting someone’s profile. If they’ve shared a fleet, you’ll see a circle around their profile picture. You can tap on it to reveal the button to unlock the fleet.
Interaction with Fleets
When you tap to view a Fleet, you’ll notice that Twitter takes a slightly different approach. this Squadrons scroll vertically when swiping or tapping up and down, instead of moving horizontally. Also, they don’t automatically scroll like most other apps with Stories do. I hate the auto-scroll feature in other apps as I have to press and hold a story to keep it from moving. That’s not the case here, and I love that. However, my colleague (@_bournesach) Anmol found this cumbersome. So I think it varies from person to person.
Because tweets are temporary and disappear after 24 hours, Twitter doesn’t allow you to publicly like, retweet, or reply to fleets. You can react to fleets with emojis or reply via Direct Messages. If your DMs are open, anyone can reply to your fleet, if closed, only the people you follow can reply.
You can still take a screenshot of someone else’s Squadron and share it on your own timeline or Squadron – similar to Instagram Stories. The user will not receive a screenshot notification, which is upsetting and exceeds the purpose of the ephemeral tweets. However, you will be able to see who has viewed your Fleets.
Shortcomings and Errors of Twitter Fleets
There aren’t many features available as Twitter Fleets are currently in testing. You can add text, images, links, videos and gifs and that’s it. No sticker support and no text style options. Also, while you can add hashtags and mentions in text fleets, you can’t do that in Fleets with photos and videos, it’s a bummer. This gives Instagram Stories a leg up over Fleets right now.
Another thing I don’t like about Fleets is that the Fleet carousel is semi-sticky. By semi-adhesive I mean it disappears when you scroll down your timeline, but comes back when you scroll up. It doesn’t expect you to get to the top of your timeline. And it’s just annoying.
Speaking of bugs, I came across a few while testing Fleets. I tested Fleets on both Android and iOS devices. I’m limited to 30 seconds when uploading videos on iOS. However, I was able to upload videos of up to 1 minute 40 seconds on Android. Similarly, when recording a video on Android, I was limited to 1 minute while the straight-out feature did not work on iPhone.
Twitter Fleets – Conclusion
Twitter Fleets are good additions to existing Twitter features and I can see them using it. But Twitter needs to fix the bugs before rolling out this service worldwide. I can wait for new features, but bugs (like inability to record video) need to be eliminated. That’s it from me. Check out Twitter Fleets if available in your country and let us know what you think in the comments below.