Could Twitter 2.0 be looking to bring back Fleets, and Vine?
Twitter chief Elon Musk has long hinted at bringing back both elements in some form, and today again, Musk has suggested that Fleets, Vine and Periscope will be reanimated at some stage.
It’s hard to imagine them being a big hit, given that the Stories-like Fleets was retired because not many users cared about it the first time around. But like Vine, as time goes on, people’s memories continue to sweeten, and the idea of what each of these functionalities was morphs into something else entirely, and they at least think that they really want them back, despite them never being major elements.
I mean, Vine was pretty popular at one stage, and with the rise of TikTok, many now lament Twitter’s decision to abandon the app - because it could have been Twitter that would now be captivating billions of users.
But it couldn’t. Not really. Vine was popular, but likely not as popular as you recall, with the app peaking at 200 million users in 2015.
Granted, that’s in relative terms – Twitter itself only had 305 million monthly active users at the time. But the problem for Twitter was that generating revenue from Vine was a challenge, because it couldn’t work out how to effectively monetize short-form videos, and get the top Vine creators paid. That led to a revolt, of sorts, which saw top stars, like the Paul brothers, switch over to YouTube and Instagram instead.
Once the top creators left, the audience followed, and Vine actually had very few users by the time is was shuttered.
Maybe it’ll be different under Elon, who’s looking for more ways to monetize elements of the app, with a view to incentivizing creators to focus more of their energy on tweets.
Fleets was similar – Fleets seems to have had a niche following of Twitter users who were passionate about the feature, but when it was shut down in 2021, Twitter explained that:
“We hoped Fleets would help more people feel comfortable joining the conversation on Twitter. But, in the time since we introduced Fleets to everyone, we haven’t seen an increase in the number of new people joining the conversation with Fleets like we hoped.”
So it’s not like either of these features was popular, as such – while Periscope was launched to big hype amid the live-stream boom in 2015, before gradually petering out due to lack of audience interest.
But again, with Elon’s renewed focus on creators, and providing a broader toolset for users to create and share all types of content with their audience, maybe there’s a new fit for each – and maybe, Twitter will look to re-add these as Twitter Blue exclusive features, or subscriber-only tools, to further incentivize subscription activity.
Or Elon’s just saying things. We have no real indicator right now, and with Twitter’s engineering team stripped back to bare bones, it’s hard to imagine them launching any major new features at this stage.
But that’s also perceptual, and maybe Twitter is indeed working on bringing each of these things back, sometime soon.
So, long live Fleets?