Is it any good though? That’s been the question I’ve heard asked about Twitter Moments in recent days. Twitter Moments, unleashed in the UK last week with the icon of a lightning bolt, can be accessed from the navigation bar of your app or desktop and will show you stories trending around the world which have been curated by publishers. Only the big boys, such as BBC and Sky News, can make them – for the moment.
How does it look?
The week of Twitter Moment’s launch coincided with Tim Peake’s rocket launch to the International Space Station. The published Moments were a beautiful scroll through video, gifs, and commentary by selected people joining in on the conversation. Here is Sky’s Tim Peake Moment.
How does it work?
Twitter Moments has essentially extended what hashtags can do by allowing a user to follow a conversation by lots of users, but it has gone way further. The conversation is curated, not unlike Storify, and is contained – meaning, it has a beginning and an end. So even after a Moment has finished, after a day usually, the story has its own url address, accessible to anybody on or off Twitter. It’s the next step toward social media’s land grab on what was traditionally publisher’s space. You won’t be going to the Sky News’s website anymore they hope, instead you’ll stay inside Twitter’s walled garden. Why leave Twitter, if everything you need to know is here?
…So what next?
There are mixed views on how good this is and what it means. Inevitably, there will be the roll out of sponsored content, which will be good for brands and Twitter’s falling stock price (presumably). Publishers, on the other hand, will need to weigh up again how the heck they’ll get people to their websites now…but then that’s nothing new. What then of us – the users? A quick straw poll around the bods at MRM showed that most people find the feature brilliant for news curation and easier to follow than a hashtag conversation. Twitter is a terribly crowded place after all, so Moments are a way off shutting off some of the noise. Irritatingly though, there isn’t a search bar option for a specific Moment. When I was searching back for Tim Peake’s rocket launch it took ages to find again. I had to go via Google. Kinks aside, it’s a thumbs up for news curation.
What’s the problem then?
My only reservation is that in the curation of a story, are you at risk of not telling all of the story? Hashtags are a mess, but they’re honest. Yes, you had to dig for hours sometimes to find gold in them there hills, but when you found it, it was really something. Twitter Moments, for all its benefits, feels a bit sterile.