If you're Twitter and you roll out a new feature, you can expect tweets (upon tweets upon tweets) making fun of it. Twitter's Snark Brigade did not disappoint Tuesday, unleashing a steady stream of jokes and memes in reaction to Twitter's announcement of Fleets, a new format that lets users share text, photos and videos that vanish after 24 hours.
Tweeted Late Night With Seth Meyers, "Fleets are exactly what Twitter needed!" (Below that line: a "this claim is disputed" warning message.)
As my colleague Queenie Wong reports, Fleets represent Twitter's attempt to capitalize on the social media trend toward more ephemeral content that started after Snapchat introduced Stories, a format that's been copied by other sites including Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
"I keep opening my Twitter, then closing it, because I think it's Instagram," one Twitter user wrote.
Part of the humor came from the label Fleet, also the name of a line of enemas. Asked one Twitter user, "Were the people who work at Twitter too young to know Fleets is an enema?" No, they were not, the Twitter communications team assured the world.
But the feature's name didn't evoke intestinal images for everyone. "I keep reading fleets as feets," another Twitter user observed.
Aside from the jokes about the name (and very existence) of Fleets, Fleet-ing tweeting Tuesday also focused on trying to understand what the stories are, exactly, and when and how to use them.
In a blog post, Twitter said global tests of the feature indicated the tool helped people feel more comfortable joining public conversations on the service.
"Those new to Twitter found Fleets to be an easier way to share what's on their mind," the company said. "Because they disappear from view after a day, Fleets helped people feel more comfortable sharing personal and casual thoughts, opinions and feelings."
And, apparently, sharing cat content.
"Don't really care for fleets," one wrote, "but the fact that 90% of the ones I've seen so far have cats in them brings me joy."
Wrote another, "430 people saw my fleet wtf I have so much power with Fleets."
The feature's debut Tuesday brought its share of complaints about the product, with some people saying the Fleets froze, lagged or made their Twitter crash. "We're aware of some issues people may be having and are working to fix them," a Twitter spokesperson said. Twitter didn't have numbers to share for the first day of Fleeting but suggested that it's watching the response closely.
"Some of you hating... but we see you Fleeting," the company tweeted.