It's been a while since we've had a Fleets update, but today, Twitter announced that its Stories-like, vertical presentation-aligned, disappearing content option is being expanded to users in Japan, marking the next stage of its broader roll-out.
新機能のFleets（フリート）が登場????— Twitter Japan (@TwitterJP) November 10, 2020
Fleets - which Twitter has explained is not exactly like Stories - has already been rolled out to users in Brazil, Italy, India and South Korea - though as noted, it has been a while since we've had an update on the expansion.
Twitter last announced an expansion of the tool in late June, though with all the additional work going on around the US election, it may have put Fleets on the back-burner for a bit, in order to ensure it had all its bases covered in this respect.
Japan is an important market for Twitter. The company serves more than 51 million users in the nation - second only to the US in terms of total Twitter users - which means that it's really putting Fleets to the test this time around, in a much larger user market than the current regions where the option is available.
That could mean that Fleets is getting close to a full launch. Whether that matters to you or not is hard to say, as we won't know how popular the option will be till it's available. But Twitter says that Fleets has seen good response thus far, and it's even experimenting with new tools, like collaborative Fleets, in line with user demand.
Some people, of course, will be critical of the option, given that it's a copy of Stories on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. But as with the news feed, Stories have become a common, habitual option which users align with, so it makes sense for all platforms to get involved, and provide tools that cater to user demand.
It may feel less original, but if people are looking to connect in this way, the platforms need to respond, and with Stories being popular among younger audiences, in particular, it could well be the way of the future, the next stage after the news feed (if it's not already).
That's also why you're going to keep seeing other platforms looking to tap into the TikTok presentation style with their new video features. TikTok is massively popular, and as users become more accustomed to communicating in that style, other platforms will look to align to cater to demand, and keep people interacting in their apps.
So Fleets is another Stories option, but it could well be a valuable one - and whether you like it or not, if people use it, it'll be a success.
And if your audience uses it, it could well end up being a success for your business.