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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Twitter’s Pulse Rests in Fleet

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Twitter’s tweet this week announcing Fleets’ imminent end racked up nearly half a million likes in a day.



Photo:

stephen lam/Reuters

Twitter

TWTR -2.44%

is about putting yourself out there. A select few fly, most get ignored and the unlucky get canceled.

This week, Twitter crashed and burned on its own platform. On Wednesday, the social-media company said in a blog post it was canceling Fleets, its ephemeral “story”-like feature popularized by competitors like

Snap Inc.’s

SNAP -1.97%

Snapchat,

Facebook

FB -0.96%

and Instagram. Internet banter abounded, inclusive of every imaginable pun comparing Twitter’s short-lived messages to their short-lived existence. Fleets were introduced just eight months ago, but Twitter said they failed to catch on as hoped.

Twitter portrayed the failure as one of its speculative bets that won’t always work out as it tries to best serve the public conversation. But for a company that aims to be the pulse of the people, it doesn’t seem to understand them so well. Twitter’s November tweet announcing Fleets’ rollout eventually received less than 75,000 likes. This week’s tweet announcing Fleets’ imminent end racked up nearly half a million in a day.

“Has any product sunset announcement ever received such a universally positive reception as Twitter Fleets”? Tweeted Casey Newton, editor of Platformer, a newsletter about the intersection of tech and Democracy, popular among the Silicon Valley crowd.

That tweet, Twitter’s users really liked.

Write to Laura Forman at laura.forman@wsj.com

Copyright ©2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Appeared in the July 17, 2021, print edition as ‘OVERHEARD.’

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