Fleets Ahead
November 18, 2020 1:35 PM   Subscribe

Twitter yesterday launched “fleets”, ephemeral tweets that disappear after 24 hours (similar to Stories in other social media apps), and it’s testing voice-based chat rooms (similar to Clubhouse, previously). Casey Newton muses on what this means for the future of the company, while Neven Mrgan reveals Norton Commander’s Stories.
posted by adrianhon (49 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Fleets = DickBar 2.0
posted by SansPoint at 1:39 PM on November 18 [1 favorite]


Fleet.

Seems appropriate.
posted by adamrice at 1:45 PM on November 18 [6 favorites]




It's painful how obvious it is that nobody at Twitter actually uses Twitter.
posted by mhoye at 1:48 PM on November 18 [32 favorites]


The great* thing is that Fleets don't track who sent the original once they disappear so you can use them to send a horde of fanatics to harass someone and the target will have no idea who originally sent it.

* And by great I mean fucking awful.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 1:51 PM on November 18 [30 favorites]


One theory I've seen on Twitter is that this is entirely major-investor driven.

Still doesn't explain why this feature was developed without acceptance criteria that would prevent it from being used to abuse people. You would think that they'd learn this by now, but somehow they haven't.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 1:57 PM on November 18 [8 favorites]


you can use them to send a horde of fanatics to harass someone and the target will have no idea who originally sent it.

This is especially bad because the replies to the Fleet go straight to your DMs, so if it gets shared by a big account you've got potentially hundreds of harassing DMs right into someone's inbox, even if they've got DMs closed to non-followers.
posted by fight or flight at 1:58 PM on November 18 [6 favorites]


Most of yesterday there was just a lone picture of mathowie at the top of my Twitter feed. I was frightened and confused. It wouldn’t go away. I didn’t want to touch it because... I didn’t want to summon him.
posted by rlk at 2:00 PM on November 18 [14 favorites]


I picked, utterly no sarcasm here, exactly the right time to have recently deleted my Twitter account, finally.
posted by bixfrankonis at 2:06 PM on November 18 [2 favorites]


How will the Russia/Trump mafiosi use this to spread disinformation? Having tweets expire seems like a good way to get around the whack-a-mole of policing content.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 2:07 PM on November 18 [8 favorites]




There's plenty of things wrong with Capitalism and the investor class, but one of the worst is that it's no good to just provide a useful service and make a profit off it. No, if you make the same amount of money year after year you're failing, because you're not growing. So investors and venture capitalists and private equity insist you have to keep innovating, keep growing, keep throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks. It's why Patreon keeps adding features nobody wants and cranking up the fees, it's why Google closes down beloved but underserved features, and it's why every social network (including LINKEDIN) is trying to ape Snapchat.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 2:29 PM on November 18 [30 favorites]


I would have gone with the name Twarts, personally.
posted by Candleman at 3:05 PM on November 18 [2 favorites]


The worst thing about Tweets is how it took the company at least a year, probably longer, to develop them. And it's not even an original feature, the functionality and a lot of the design are straight up copied from Instagram stories. And they launched it only on mobile devices; still not there on the web client.

Also who the hell wants this? All I see is a bunch of new inboxes I have to open manually by horizontally scrolling circles on a tiny cell phone screen. Do they imagine The Young People are going to be so excited by this feature they all quit using Instagram and TikTok?

Speaking of TikTok; remember Vine? The company Twitter bought that was more or less exactly TikTok? The product they destroyed?
posted by Nelson at 3:14 PM on November 18 [15 favorites]


The worst thing about Fleets, I mean.
posted by Nelson at 3:25 PM on November 18


"when did I say that" is the new "I was only joking"

shitty comedians and politicians will come to love this.
posted by One Thousand and One at 3:31 PM on November 18 [1 favorite]


They sound like the perfect place to debate the latest Troncs.
posted by AndrewInDC at 3:37 PM on November 18


So investors and venture capitalists and private equity insist you have to keep innovating, keep growing, keep throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks.

It's almost as if capitalism is a command economy dictated by sociopaths
posted by eustatic at 3:38 PM on November 18 [15 favorites]


Evergreen tweet
posted by saladin at 3:45 PM on November 18 [2 favorites]


I love Echofon Pro so much. So, so much. It's an old Twitter client that just shows tweets. In chronological order. Without ads. Or "likes" or "friend-of-friend tweets." Or suggested follows or topics. And doesn't have even the faintest idea what a Fleet is. It's like the Twitter of ten years ago before they really started to fuck that pig in earnest.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:16 PM on November 18 [3 favorites]


Fleets are horrible.

The title of this post, however, is EXCELLENT! Nicely done, adrianhon.
posted by Frayed Knot at 4:59 PM on November 18 [2 favorites]


At this point, anyone who runs into these new features and hates it just deserves what they get.

Like seanmpuckett, I use a 3rd party client, and last new Twitter feature I've run into is probably that users you are replying to don't count towards the char limit, which at the time was 140. Everything else introduced in the last ten years has been invisible to me.
posted by sideshow at 5:07 PM on November 18


I just want to point out that “just don’t use the official clients” is not exactly a broadly considered suggestion. I started going blind two years ago (somewhat arrested right now) and discovered my favorite non-official client was wildly inaccessible in ways that take actual work to bypass iOS conventions. My reports were ignored. The official client has its quirks but I can at least interact with everything using a screen reader.

The twitter api agreement also could at any time make your client unusable or may require them to insert ads or support particular features. Twitter api changes have routinely broken non-official clients. Of course third party clients don’t stop you from being harassed by the new feature anyway.

So sure “use another client to avoid the crappy new features” is a frustrating thing to read.
posted by R343L at 5:20 PM on November 18 [11 favorites]


Perhaps I am blind or temporarily unable to detect humor or sarcasm, but I don’t get the Norton Commander thing.
posted by lhauser at 5:35 PM on November 18


Hey R3F3L, my comment wasn't primarily meant to imply that everyone should switch to an older client, but rather the arc of evolution of social media sites tends towards shitty. It's simply fortuitous that in this lone case there's a way around it for some.

I was listing all the ways that Twitter has broken their own user experience in the last few years, and that, by refusing to allow third party clients to access their modern API, they have inadvertently preserved a relatively benign experience -- the "original Twitter" more or less. Albeit one rather restricted in use.

I regret that my words came across as a gloat, and you have my apologies.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:53 PM on November 18 [5 favorites]


Twitterrific saves me from this abomination.
posted by emelenjr at 6:09 PM on November 18


It's actually kind of impressive how poorly these things integrate with Twitter:
They aren't part of the timeline, but are pinned to the top of the feed
Not available on web (or any non-official twitter client)
Quoting a tweet doesn't trigger notifications
Quoting a tweet circumvents blocks
You can tag someone who has blocked you (and that you have blocked)
The person who posted can see who looked, including private accounts
Responding to a fleet is done through DMs, even if the poster doesn't have DMs open
posted by ckape at 7:14 PM on November 18 [2 favorites]


Surely these will be archived by third parties and not actually ephemeral at all..?
posted by swr at 7:15 PM on November 18


Surely.
posted by ckape at 7:31 PM on November 18


And they launched it only on mobile devices; still not there on the web client.

Also who the hell wants this?


Sounds like sour fleets to me.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:43 PM on November 18


I just stopped in to say that "fleet" is not a sound that a bird makes. So clearly Twitter has no idea how their own branding works.

'Chirps' was RIGHT THERE
posted by mmoncur at 11:03 PM on November 18 [14 favorites]


Surely these will be archived by third parties and not actually ephemeral at all..?

They're going to prevent archiving by disabling screen capture on every device in the world. Like Snapchat did.

(Sometimes it'd be nice to be able to post in two threads at once.)
posted by Cardinal Fang at 11:42 PM on November 18


I would have gone with the name Twarts, personally.

Twunts.
posted by Cardinal Fang at 11:43 PM on November 18 [3 favorites]


Things being what they are, I'm only 99% sure that the Norton Commander thing is satire...
posted by Harald74 at 11:46 PM on November 18 [1 favorite]


It's painful how obvious it is that nobody at Twitter actually uses Twitter.

As someone who worked at Twitter for a few years, I'm continuously impressed by how random snarky commenters on the internet always seem to have such perfect knowledge about everyone at every social media company.
posted by Idle Curiosity at 2:53 AM on November 19 [1 favorite]


seanmpuckett: thank you! I’m admittedly a little hair trigger about this topic because it comes up in a lot of contexts.
posted by R343L at 6:38 AM on November 19 [1 favorite]


at least maybe it will be good for sex workers so we'll all get to enjoy a bunch of fleet foxes
posted by lazaruslong at 8:02 AM on November 19 [1 favorite]


"Voice-based chat rooms"? Has Twitter invented conference calls?
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 8:05 AM on November 19 [2 favorites]


The growth obsession is partially priced in. Many tech stocks have absurdly high price to earnings ratios implying that owners believe that they will have quite a bit of growth. Any sign that that is not true destroys the price of the company (and holdings of shareholders) by bringing it into line with normal companies.

Investors also have to think of the durability problem with these companies. All companies face the problem that changing market forces could destroy them, but nowhere is this stronger than in technology. A tech company that is failing to innovate looks much more likely to face obsolescence soon. Ironically, the tech monopolists probably have escaped this. For example, nobody can monetize social network data better than facebook, so Facebook will always be able to buy out new rivals at a profit.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 8:28 AM on November 19 [2 favorites]


Fleet, like the river in London that became an open sewer, and then was buried out of sight? Sounds appropriate
posted by acb at 12:21 PM on November 19 [2 favorites]


Fleet, like the brand-name enema that causes people to spew shit almost instantly. [ Airplane flies overhead. ] Ah. Fine.
posted by seanmpuckett at 12:25 PM on November 19 [2 favorites]


Fleet, like the street where the demon barber murders you into a pie
posted by oulipian at 2:36 PM on November 19 [5 favorites]


Incidentally, "murdered into a pie" is my new username.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:18 PM on November 19 [4 favorites]


As someone who worked at Twitter for a few years, I'm continuously impressed by how random snarky commenters on the internet always seem to have such perfect knowledge about everyone at every social media company.

Software is a byproduct of culture, and you can absolutely tell who is in the room making decisions at a software company by looking at their products.
posted by mhoye at 9:48 AM on November 20 [1 favorite]


It's an especially useless feature because you can already delete your tweets after 24 hours. Alan McGee used to do it all the time.
posted by subdee at 9:51 PM on November 20


Regarding sharing Fleets:

Unless they changed it, you cannot "Share" a Fleet, Like it, nor "re-Fleet" it. According to the Twitter announcement, you can Share Tweets in Fleets.

You can react to Fleets by sending via DM (text or emoji) or report them.

Outside of screenshots or other recording and not counting bugs (Features, inc.), you should have no way to publicly share them on that platform.

(Not here to defend nor advocate Fleets. Testing my reading comprehension.)
posted by filtergik at 4:56 AM on November 21


Unless they changed it, you cannot "Share" a Fleet, Like it, nor "re-Fleet" it. According to the Twitter announcement, you can Share Tweets in Fleets.

You can react to Fleets by sending via DM (text or emoji) or report them.
Oh my god, I hate the 21st century so much.
posted by springo at 12:31 PM on November 21 [2 favorites]


Sounds like they don't even actually disappear after 24 hours.
posted by ckape at 1:26 PM on November 21


Also deleted fleets can still be read and fleets can be read without triggering a notification. Perhaps they think "move fast and break things" is innovation, the slogan Facebook abandoned over five years ago. As if a year to launch is moving fast.
posted by Nelson at 2:52 PM on November 21


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