Fleets: What are they and how can a university use them?

Lewis Wake
Wednesday 16 December 2020

Twitter launched a new story feature for their mobile app in November 2020 called ‘Fleets’.

Fleets are for sharing momentary thoughts – they help start conversations and only stick around for 24 hours

Fleets are created for Twitter users to feel less pressure and experience fewer social repercussions of posting a Tweet.

Why use Fleets?

Twitter is the latest social media platform to adopt a ‘stories’ feature. Initially made popular with Snapchat and then blown into the stratosphere by Instagram, story features in social media platforms are a heavily used medium for posts.

According to Instagram, over 500 million accounts use Instagram Stories every day.

This usage has far surpassed Snapchat’s own 190 million total daily users statistics.

Regardless of the hesitant initial uptake of Fleets, it is a model that is successful on other social media platforms, so it is worth capitalising on it early and making noise while it is in the early stages of its rollout.

Recent Fleets are always shown at the very top of a user’s Twitter feed. As Fleets will inevitably become more widely adopted, now is a good time to be guaranteed to be seen by your followers.

Image: Twitter

How a university can make use of Twitter Fleets

Engage with followers

Similar to how Instagram stories are being widely used, Fleets should be community driven to engage with followers of a university Twitter account.

Fleets provide a tone of voice and personality for a Twitter account. This is especially important for corporate accounts as it provides users with a sense of character and improves engagement with the brand.

Embrace and document live events

Live events can be so complicated to organise that content documentation is often an afterthought. Especially in 2020, live events are attended by far fewer people, so allowing a digital audience to feel involved is important to keep an active community.

Provide impromptu reactions and footage. Allow the natural personality of account to be shown to the followers.

It will only be a matter of time until Fleets can be archived and highlighted on profiles similarly to Instagram stories.

Behind the scenes

Behind the scenes footage before an event is a great way to build interest and anticipation for an audience.

If there are interesting stories to tell, try Fleeting them first to see how the community responds. It’s always worthwhile testing the waters, especially with a disposable medium.

Inform informally!

If there is an important announcement that needs to be communicated to your followers, being pinned at the very top of the Twitter apps feed is a good way to get a message across.

Fleets are naturally an informal method of communication. This can allow you to be creative and to the point with messages.

Use graphics, emojis, and imagery to concisely inform followers of important information.

Pin Tweets

Is a Tweet super important? You can currently pin it to the top of your own profile’s feed, but for this to be seen requires a user to navigate to your profile.

Pinning a Tweet, or Fleeting a Tweet, is a good method to ensure a Tweet is featured to your followers.

A single click of the Tweet within the Fleet will navigate directly to the post.

What is the potential future for Fleets?

Fleets are likely to adopt a similar model to Instagram stories and introduce highlights. This will allow your Fleets to be archived and viewable from your Twitter profile.

Does this defeat the purpose of a disposable medium? Yes, but, this is just a fleeting thought…

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