Twitter implements unnecessary feature

The new update fails to address more meaningful desires shared by many users

Aine Pierre, Staff Columnist

Never mind the fact that Twitter users have been asking for an edit button for years, never mind the fact that Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook all have story features; and never mind the fact that Twitter really has better things to do than upgrade its interface (like maybe getting rid of the literal Nazis on the platform), someone at Twitter decided that Fleets were what the good people of November 2020 needed.

Fleets, which I assume is a play on the “fleeting” nature of the 24-hour story-adjacent feature, were unveiled Tuesday morning to mixed reviews. While some users were happy to have an auto-disappearing means of expression on everyone’s favorite dumpster fire of an app, others noted that there was no need to introduce a story feature much better suited to the calmer Facebook-Snapchat suite of apps than the chaos of Twitter.

I fall on the latter side of this argument. I find the permanence of Twitter comforting, and the joy of scrolling through my lighthearted Twitter accounts and the utter dejection of doom-scrolling through my politics account are mainstays of my daily routine. I like that I can check Twitter at various times and not have to worry about a deluge of temporary content like I do on Snapchat, Instagram, etc. And again, we’re still waiting on the edit button, something for which there is a well-documented need (take one look at President Donald Trump’s Twitter feed and tell me that there is not a remote possibility that an edit button could save us from nuclear annihilation). 

It’s been a bad week for social media overall: Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Jack Dorsey of Twitter faced tough questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday about fact-checking and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a controversial issue in media politics as of late. Instagram, not to be outdone, made objectively terrible changes to its interface, moving the notifications slot to the top of the screen to make room for, of all things, shopping. Yet still, Twitter still takes the top slot this week for social media catastrophes in my book; I am that mad about it.

To make matters worse, Twitter addressed the hatred in a tweet that read “some of you hating … but we see you Fleeting.” To me, this adds insult to injury. First of all, if you are a company that is predominantly white and does very little to help Black causes, AAVE may not be the best dialect to tweet in. Secondly, yes, of course people are going to use that new feature; how else do you think we found out it sucks? And third, if you make an unpopular move, don’t double down on it. At least be like Instagram and chide in silence at your power to make user experience infinitely more awful without losing users in silence. Sheesh. 

I will pause my seething for a moment to say I could learn to love Twitter’s new “feature.” I originally hated Instagram Stories, but with the right combination of stickers and add-ons, I grew to use them almost daily. Facebook Stories, on the other hand, I still do not understand the need for. My thinking is that if Twitter makes no effort to make its Fleets jazzier, there is nothing that will save it from not only my deep hatred, but that of many regular Twitter users.

So, here’s to hoping that these Fleets will be fleeting, or at least fleeing back to the drawing board.