It is one of the darker thoughts and feelings one might have in this day and age of prevalent social media platforms: what if there are some social media posts I made in the past that I regret and want gone, but I can’t find them from the clutter of my online activity and – well, somebody found it first? The desire to want online posts gone after a period of time is the driving force of “ephemerality” in some social media services. Snapchat and Instagram made this prominent with their 24-hour-only “Stories” posting feature, something that Twitter is imitating now.
Tech Crunch reports that Twitter has finally decided to try out giving their signature 280-character Tweet messages the “ephemeral” option, allowing posts designated as so to disappear 24 hours after they were put online. In this fashion they are quite behind pioneer Snapchat and first follower Instagram, but Twitter certainly knows how to grab attention all the same. Their ephemeral posting featured, currently being tested in South America especially Brazil, is known as the “Fleet” post, as in the word “fleeting,” which is rather appropriate. At least that is one way to make it stand out considering Twitter fleets are just Snapchat and Instagram Stories.
Here is the nitty-gritty regarding how fleets work on Twitter. In addition to the 24-hour availability before self-deleting, a fleet post cannot be Liked, Replied to or Re-Tweeted. Accessibility to fleets for those who did not post them is also given some significant limitations. They can be seen by others who would visit a Twitter user’s page profile, whether they are followers or not. But these fleets are stuck in the user’s own account and not included for online circulation. They are not included in Twitter moments or Search results, and embedding them is disabled.
The fleet feature was the result of surveys by Twitter on why some of its registered users never actually go active in tweeting, due to their being used to horror stories of people’s reputations and lives ruined because some questionable past post of theirs was publicized. It is one of the options being considered for development by the micro-post social media giant for helping users keep some entries quiet. Composing a fleet is similar to a tweet in that it allows adding of photos/GIFs and videos, despite the very lackluster interface being trialed in Brazil.
Brazilian Twitter users have been able to “fleet” their ephemeral posts since Wednesday, March 4. The services has not yet announced when it might become available in other areas, if it becomes a regular feature.
Image courtesy of Wired