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Twitter slows down roll out of Fleets due to 'performance and stability' concerns

If you haven't got the new Twitter Stori... sorry, 'Fleets' option as yet, you may have to wait a little longer - according to Twitter, it's delaying the expanded roll-out of Fleets just a little bit due to performance and stability concerns.

We’re slowing down the rollout of Fleets to fix some performance and stability problems. If you don’t have the feature yet, you may not get it for a few more days. We love that so many people are using Fleets and want to ensure we’re providing the best experience for everyone. — Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) November 19, 2020

Many users have reported experiencing significant lag in using Fleets, leading to a 'clunky' user experience.

That's likely why Twitter has taken so long to move to a full roll-out of the option. Twitter first started testing Fleets in Brazil back in March, before gradually expanding the option to more, smaller regions up till June. Then Fleets was seemingly shelved for several months. That was likely due to Twitter focusing its efforts on the US Election - but then, last week, Fleets were expanded to Japan, Twitter's second-biggest user market.

Then Twitter decided to go all-in, and it seems like it may have underestimated the sudden surge in usage, leading to these back-end issues.

As with any new function, users have been flocking to Fleets to try it out, with brands, in particular, keen to re-post their promotional messages to Fleets in an effort to expand their reach. It's hard to say, at this stage, whether Fleets will become a thing - looking at it so far, Fleets is an inferior version of Stories, with no effects or AR tools and limited functionality, going along with its lag and performance challenges.

That, you would think, won't put Fleets in good stead moving forward - but then again, some people will use it, and like Facebook Stories, even if only a few people use them, eventually, it will see growth. And with Stories becoming the preferred option for social connection, instead of the news feed, it makes sense for Twitter to add it.

But will it be a big thing? I'd say probably not, but time will tell.

The broader issue with Fleets is really a Twitter problem - Twitter's simply not great with product innovation and creating new, exciting options to keep users engaged.

For example, can you think of one Twitter addition in the last five years that's had a significant impact on how people use the platform?

Not easy, right? Audio tweets? Reply restrictions? There are no real 'game changer' type updates in Twitter's product launch list.

Now think about Instagram. IGTV. Reels. Stories. Facebook's addition of Stories was also arguably more significant than Fleets, and both Facebook and IG have put increased focus on eCommerce (through Marketplace and Shops), which has also had an impact on usage.

Fleets, no matter how you look at it, is an inferior version of Stories. Which seems like not a great way to stay competitive, releasing a less-good version of a function, years behind time.

Again, you can't necessarily judge Fleets on its current performance due to the stated issues, and we'll have to wait till everyone has it to make a real call on its potential. But at the moment, it does seem a bit 'meh'.

You can find out for yourself when Fleets comes to your app.

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