Since it was founded in March 2006, there has been only one type of post possible on Twitter: a tweet. But starting today, the 280-character post is being joined by an ephemeral South American cousin: the fleet.
That’s what Twitter is calling these new, more fleeting tweets — posts that appear in a separate timeline above the main timeline for 24 hours before disappearing. In other words, yes, Twitter is finally doing Snapchat Stories, and the implementation looks nearly identical to Instagram’s version of the feature.
“Twitter is for having conversations about what you care about,” Mo Aladham, a Twitter group product manager, said in a blog post. “But, some of you tell us that you’re uncomfortable to tweet because tweets are public, feel permanent, and have public counts (retweets and likes). We want to make it possible for you to have conversations in new ways with less pressure and more control, beyond tweets and direct messages. That’s why starting today in Brazil, we’re testing fleets, a new way to start conversations from your fleeting thoughts.”
To create a fleet, you’ll tap a plus button that appears on a new home row of ephemeral posts on top of your home timeline. From there, you can type up to 280 characters of text or add photos, GIFs, or videos. Once you hit post, your fleet will appear in a lightly ranked side-scrolling row of posts. Fleets from people you follow and who follow you back will appear first, with the most recently posted visible first. From there, you’ll see posts from other accounts that you follow.
You cannot like or retweet a fleet.
You can respond to fleets with reaction emoji similar to those that were recently introduced in direct messages. You can also respond with text, which will open up a DM with the person you’re messaging.
Fleets, like stories everywhere, disappear after 24 hours.