Since it launched in 2006, Twitter’s platform has shown a unique capability to break news and provide real-time commentary on live events. Within hundreds of millions of tweets exists citizen reporting, cultural jokes, live commentary on sporting events, protests and TV shows, just to name a few. The content that exists on Twitter is wonderful, if you know who to follow.
It can take time to find the right people to follow on Twitter and customize your timeline to where you can stay current on stories that interest you. As Twitter Product Manager Madhu Muthukumar puts it, “We know finding these only-on-Twitter moments can be a challenge, especially if you haven’t followed certain accounts. But it doesn’t have to be.”
Enter Twitter’s new feature, Moments. According to Muthukumar’s blog, the goal is to help people “find the best of Twitter as easily as tapping an icon – regardless of who you follow.” When you tap the new lighting bolt tab you’ll see trending Moments, which are basically a series of tweets on a specific topic. Swipe through the tweets to access relevant images, videos, links, vines or GIFs. Following a Moment will insert that series of tweets into your timeline and allow you to swipe through to gain context about a trending event without having to leave your timeline.
Following a Moment will allow even the most experienced Twitter user to gain quicker insight and context on an event that they tune into midway through or on a story that their followers aren’t discussing. Although for now, Moments are basically trending stories that Twitter recommends, anyone can create one. David Pierce, from Wired, wrote a very insightful article on this new feature and commented:
“Anything a tweet can do, a Moment can do. You can tweet them – they up as cards, like a picture or a poll – or embed them, send links to them, pin them, search for them, whatever. They’re just tweets in a row. Anyone can make them.”
It’s almost certain that we’ll see brands, news organizations and major influencers begin to create Moments. How the masses utilize it will determine its success and how Twitter decides to further update it. Twitter’s “While you were away” and “Discover Tab” features have previously attempted to give users more context and allow them to engage with trending topics easier. Make no mistake, Moments is another attempt by Twitter to lure in new users by making it easier for them to follow specific stories and accounts. If it works, it could fundamentally change the platform. If it doesn’t, Twitter’s loyal (but much smaller than Facebook) following will still use the platform, but keep it hundreds of millions of monthly active users smaller than Facebook.
Although Twitter isn’t the top dog, it is a very important platform for breaking news, live commentary and cultural references. For brands, Twitter is very powerful as well. 98% of Interbrand 100 companies use Twitter, tweets have the capability to show up in Google search and Moments will give brands even more of an opportunity to tell their stories.