By Jonny Lupsha, Current Events Writer
Twitter is ending “Fleets,” the temporary tweet program. The company cited an overall lack of popularity with users and no surge in new accounts as reasons for abandoning the mechanic. Twitter is the top news platform on social media.
Disappearing Tweets are disappearing for good. Twitter had launched the Fleet mechanic as competition for the “stories” portions of Facebook and Instagram. In other words, users could post content that would automatically disappear forever after a day. However, a lack of user engagement and use has caused the company to shut Fleets down for good.
Twitter began its life advertising itself as a “microblogging site,” where users were limited to making posts of 140 text characters or fewer (the company has since doubled to 280 characters). When senators began tweeting results of votes while in session, it took off as an up-to-the-minute source of information. In her video series Social Media 101, Pei Ketron, photographer and educator, explained the platform for those unfamiliar with it.
The Rundown on Twitter
“Twitter is a microblogging social network which allows users to post and interact with messages called tweets,” Ketron said. “Users can use up to 280 characters to share a text message and/or share photo or video tweets. They can also like and reshare tweets made by other users; an action called retweeting.”
Finally, according to Ketron, unless your account is set to private mode, tweets are public domain. They’re indexed in Google and other search results. Not only is it an effective way of reading top-line news items on the go, but it’s also good for having short conversations with friends and others.
“People tend to follow sources of news, people they know and like, and people or accounts that inspire and educate them,” Ketron said. “Many users use it as a platform for sharing their expertise and influence in their field.”
One of the biggest draws for Twitter users is how late-breaking the information is. Entertainment sites tweet film and music announcements, while news sources and public figures tweet news as it happens. Actors, musicians, and visual artists regularly hold conversations with fans on Twitter or use the site to give kudos to local businesses like restaurants that they enjoy—or maybe tweet a behind-the-scenes picture from a film shoot or recommend a musician or movie that inspired their work.
We Used to Call It a Pound Sign
“Twitter is regarded as the top platform for news when it comes to social media,” Ketron said. “It does utilize a ‘follow model,’ which means that you can follow any account you’d like unless they’re private. They overall age of Twitter skews a bit younger, and among U.S. users, they tend to have higher education levels and higher wealth than the general population.”
According to Ketron, Twitter users also tend to be generally political. Twitter is also the original birthplace of the hashtag. A hashtag is made by typing a pound sign and following it with a related keyword or phrase, like #ThankGodItsFriday paired with a comment about the work week. Special characters like punctuation or spaces aren’t compatible with hashtags.
Hashtags are like modern versions of keyword searches and are clickable on Twitter. Clicking the hashtag will display a list of all posts, called Tweets, containing that hashtag. The hashtag’s popularity has helped it spread to other social media sites like Instagram and Facebook.
The ability to make Fleets will disappear for good August 3.