Innovation via desperation – Twitter Fleets

Twitter Fleets are not necessary, nobody on the network was calling for them, and their implementation shows that Twitter has more interest in following the crowd than genuinely innovating. Instead, what we now have is social networks innovating from a position of desperation.

What is Fleets?

Twitter rolled out the new Fleets feature on November 17. Fleets is Twitter’s version of every other social networks’ version of Snapchat Stories that launched in October 2013. Across LinkedIn Stories, YouTube Stories, Facebook Stories, and Instagram Stories all the networks are beginning to mirror one another. They do so because stories, like with Snapchat’s user content, force users to view the content for a set period of time. This is good for advertisers and influencers, however it is bad for average users because this is innovation in name only…

As @stokel argues – “The cross-pollination has also bled out into the rest of the social-media market, with companies increasingly reticent to do anything other than cannibalize the best features of their competitors in order to eke out a few more minutes of engagement with largely dissatisfied users”.

@stokel via

Keeping up with the Joneses

Twitter, like all the other networks, is focused on ‘keeping up with the Joneses’, trying to be all things to all people. Networks like Twitter are trying to give the illusion of change, promoting their forward thinking credentials with consistent updates that do little, effectively trying to save face in a market that (in reality) has stagnated in users and ideas.

The machines of data they have generated have been perfected. This fiddling around the edges is done to placate creator ego’s and give the illusion of progress, keeping userbases engaged and providing content for investor reports.

Progress is not a certainty when so much money is riding with current systems.
Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on

A stagnant digital landscape that is focusing on the wrong things

Despite countless calls for changes to policy with regards to hate speech or misinformation, as well as huge issues with bots and trolls, Twitter has put tons of effort instead into mirroring other networks through Fleets. Change gives the illusion of the network being constantly active, but then why that lack of activity for these key issues above?

As a forum with a mission statement to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly without barriers. Twitter should reprioritise and appreciate its unique place in the market. It is never going to be a Facebook or Instagram, it is an open place of discussion. To succeed it must reclaim that goal, enacting change to make debate and public engagement more productive and enjoyable.

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