Twitter Moments was, last week, rolled out across the UK. You’ve probably noticed the lightning bolt logo on desktop and mobile. But what is it exactly?
First rolled out on the other side of the Atlantic back in October, Moments has been described as Twitter’s “most important feature ever” and marks its first foray into curated news. Managed by a team of UK based journalists, the feature is designed to deliver a not-quite-chronological overview of breaking news and trending stories.
Navigate to the ‘Moments’ tab and you’re faced with a list of around 8 trending news stories; things like weather, world news and sport. To the left, however, are several filtering options, currently limited to ‘Today’, ‘News’, ‘Sports’, ‘Entertainment’, and ‘Fun’. You guessed it, clicking ‘Sports’ will deliver trending sports news.
See something that takes your fancy? Click through to a ‘moment’ and you’ll be directed to a curated page of tweets associated with that particular story. Cleverly, if there’s a story you’re particularly interested in and would like to stay up to date with while it’s relevant, you can follow its curated updates through your Twitter feed. Once the story is no longer relevant, you’ll be unfollowed.
The reaction to Moments has, however, been somewhat mixed. Personally, we feel it’s a bold and interesting step in a positive direction for the platform, but others “hate” it; strong words indeed. The main complaint? “I don’t like change”. Muscle memory isn’t a particularly good argument against a new feature; notifications has moved along a bit. You’ll get used to it.
Ok, so some of the curated content can tend towards clickbait, but a lot of it is genuinely interesting and important. At the time of writing, Beijing’s smog problem, calls for Nigel Farage to stand down and a politics roundup occupy my Moments feed.
Why Is Moments Important?
Quite simply, Twitter Moments is a completely different prospect from what the platform has traditionally offered. It’s a strong stride into the world of curated news content that will help Twitter appeal to a wider audience and could reinvigorate growth.
Famously, Twitter has recently entered a period of stagnation and efforts to widen its appeal is precisely what will keep the network going. By going into relatively direct competition with news outlets like the BBC, Twitter might arguably snatch some of that audience, particularly those in search of easily digestible content.
But it’s also interesting to see Twitter working with a number of independent news outlets; Sky News, Met Office, Buzzfeed and others besides. Perhaps Twitter has forged a completely new space of its own, somewhere between the tweet and in-depth news content. Want a unique, new-media look at the day’s news? Get thee to Twitter.