Amid questions surrounding the platform’s ultimate purpose and criticisms that it is too hard to use, Twitter has just unveiled a potentially game-changing feature called “Moments.” The move comes just a day after the company welcomed founder Jack Dorsey back into the fold as CEO.
Moments is a new tab on Twitter’s mobile and desktop home screens where the company will curate trending topics as they’re unfolding in real-time -- from citizen-reported news to cultural memes to sports events and more. Moments will fall into five total categories, including “Today,” “News,” “Sports,” “Entertainment” and “Fun.”
Codenamed Project Lighting during its months in development, the Moments tab still features a lightning bolt icon. As an entry point for beginning Twitter users, Moments is accessible to everyone and doesn’t require users to follow, hashtag or at-reply. While currently available in the U.S., the tool will soon roll out globally.
The purpose of the feature is to enable users to find the content that they’re looking for without having to dig through Twitter’s vast and chaotic network of voices, the feature’s project manager, Madhu Muthukumar, explained in a blog post.
When users click on a particular Moment, a stream of content appears, including images, videos (that autoplay), Vines and GIFs. For instance, the ‘ Meet Marutaro the hedgehog’ Moment features clips of the tiny creature snacking on watermelon and snuggled inside a bath towel.
And if users are particularly interested in any given topic, they can choose to follow that Moment -- whereby the content blends into their timeline but then stops appearing as soon as the story concludes.
Swiping through each Moment on a smartphone, as vertical videos and images saturate screens, is not unlike consuming a Snapchat Discover story -- a feature in which Snapchat, too, curates images and videos from notable events and locales around the globe.
While Twitter’s own curation team will be organizing Moments based on news that is humming across Twitter, some Moments will come care of media partners, which currently include the Bleacher Report, Buzzfeed, Entertainment Weekly, Fox News, Getty Images, Mashable, MLB, NASA, The New York Times, Vogue and The Washington Post. But eventually, according to Wired, Twitter will enable every one of its 316 million users to create Moments of their own.