He said that fleets were conceived because Twitter research found sometimes people are intimidated to converse on Twitter when it is a permanent public record of your thoughts:
I know what you're thinking: “THIS SOUNDS A LOT LIKE STORIES!”. Yes, there are many similarities with the Stories format that will feel familiar to people. There are also a few intentional differences to make the experience more focused on sharing and seeing people’s thoughts. pic.twitter.com/OaGYZpChcN— Kayvon Beykpour (@kayvz) March 4, 2020
“People often tell us that they don’t feel comfortable Tweeting because Tweets can be seen and replied to by anybody, feel permanent and performative (how many Likes & Retweets will this get!?)”, he said.
Fleets won’t get likes, retweets or replies, but you can emoji react or DM the fleeter after tapping on their avatar at the time of the timeline, Snapchat and Instagram style.
Snapchat introduced its Stories feature in 2013, with Instagram and Facebook both copying it, the former to huge effect. Twitter has always held out and in general since its 2006 launch has been resistive to change.
The two major changes to Twitter in that whole time have been the non-chronological serving of the timeline and changing the 140 character limit to 280 characters. Fleets (yes, fleets) counts as the third big change in our eyes if it is to come to the product globally, which appears to be the plan.