I have been a long-time user of Twitter. I joined back in 2009 because some of my favourite YouTubers like Mitchell Davis (LiveLavaLive) and JennaMarbles would do twitter Q&A’s and I really wanted to be included in one of them.
Since then Twitter has gone through a few phases. It was a strong platform for my generation until Instagram and Snapchat picked up speed. When stories were introduced on both of these platforms, people couldn’t find a reason to tweet when they could share their thoughts on Facebook (without a character limit) and connect with their favourite celebrities on Instagram and Snapchat.
Twitter also bought Vine, which eventually led to the closure of Vine – a real loss for the early social media creators.
Fast forward to today and Twitter has increased its character limit from the original 140 to 280. It has been the epicenter for all of the Trump nonsense from the last 4 years. It has also been home to some creative and incredibly funny corners of the internet. If there’s a major event that can be made into a meme, Twitter is pretty quick to be the birthplace of some of the best memes.
But with the introduction of Fleets, their version of Instagram and Facebook stories, Twitter has an opportunity to really become a very interesting social media platform.
The Original Microblogging Platform
I believe it was in David Meerman Scott’s “New Rules of Marketing & PR” where I had my definition of Twitter redefined. It isn’t just about sharing random thoughts, it is actually a microblogging platform. In 280 characters or less (or more if you create a thread), you are sharing your opinions and therefore your personal perspective on some topic or idea.
Now how does this make the new Fleets feature an exciting launch? Well when I think of what stories have been on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., they act as a form of microblog. Sharing your favourite songs, or vlogging an event you attend – however you use stories, you’ve always been doing a form of microblogging.
So now that the original microblogging platform has joined the stories game, I think they have a great opportunity to not only amplify the voices of their best users, but to open up new doors to their users who have been tweeting thoughts, ideas, and perspectives for years. Everyone on that platform is used to the format of quick thoughts and getting a point across in a succinct way. In a time of limited attention spans, this is incredibly valuable.
Tweets as Fleets
One of the greatest features is the fact that you can share tweets as fleets. This is something many of us have been doing with tweets for years. Take a screenshot, place it on a nice background, and share it to Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. Now that this feature is built into an app, it takes away the need to take those extra steps.
Going back to this idea of limited attention spans, we are also a society that has had apps and websites designed for the minimum clicks possible to get us to our desired goal. Too many steps and many of us give up and seek out a solution that will get us there faster. So with this tweet sharing feature of fleet, they’ve just cut that process down to a minimum of 2 clicks.
That sounds like efficiency and another reason to spend more time on Twitter.
On the Twitter blog, the first reason they cite for creating Fleets is a great example of listening to customers. If you are a Twitter user, how many times have you written a tweet and then saved it to drafts or deleted it completely? I know there’s been a few times where I have had a strong opinion on something, have written a great tweet on it, and then deleted it because I worried it was maybe too opinionated. And worse, what if my opinions change in the future, but this is now on the internet forever?
Well that’s where Fleets become an awesome solution. Fleets allow you to share your opinions and perspectives, but with slightly less commitment. You can be part of a conversation but when the topic is no longer a headline, or a trending topic, the Fleet is already gone.
This allows for a more robust conversation. Less hesitation, more perspectives, greater depth in conversation.
I will definitely be using Fleets to share messages related to my Tweets. I like the idea of sharing something that is happening in the moment, and you don’t have the time to write up a Tweet. I don’t want to share the exact same stories across all platforms because I think the audience on Twitter is different from the other major platforms. I want to give more context to my tweets, or help introduce a tweet with a Fleet.
I’ve always been interested in vlogging, and similarly to how I use Twitter as a microblogging platform, I will be using Fleets as a micro-vlogging platform. Working in the social media space and marketing, it is always a good idea to test out the latest platforms and features. If that feature or that new platform ends up being a hit, you’re always well-versed in all of the ways you can use the platform to your advantage.
How will you use Twitter Fleets?