Moments is designed to compile a combination of images, videos and Vines around a chosen topic, event or news story, providing users with “the best of what’s happening in an instant”. How far users can delve into a moment is completely up to them, and they can still retweet, favourite and take part in a discussion as they wish.
The feature is similar to Snapchat’s ‘Live City Stories’, and the content within Moments will provide instant and interactive updates.
"What we want to provide is a simplified way for users to get instant value from the platform and literally get the best of what's happening on Twitter right now," said Twitter VP of Sales Matt Derella”
So what does Twitter get from this?
Twitter is under immense pressure from investors to grow the platform. The company’s share price fell from $69.00 in January 2014 to an all-time low of $25.29 in September 2015, and the lack of growth in the user base is a key factor behind that.
To combat this, Twitter has made a concerted effort to position itself as a source of news discovery. It believes that by collating the millions of individual pieces of content, many of which are focused around a relatively small number of issues, stories or events, it can become something of a go-to source for news, opinion and debate.
It also means that Twitter can keep its users attention for longer. By bringing multiple sources together, the social network can create a stream of content that discourages the user from clicking away from the site or app, because they can get the essence of the story from Moments. As Facebook has done to great success, this is about ending the reliance on link sharing and about bringing external content into the app itself.
All of this, Twitter hopes, will attract new users and bring stagnant users back to the platform. Previously, finding the most influential twitter handles to follow, and the most relevant tweets, was quite a lengthy task and one that required a high level of patience in order to find and tailor your news feed. That is something that many believe discourages new users who are looking for instant gratification.
Crucially, Moments will be available to both users and non-users, significantly opening up Twitter’s content to a much wider audience.
So can brands get in on the act?
The ability for brands to “join the conversation” through Moments has increased, although it is worth noting that Moments will rely on an algorithm to determine which Tweets to display, so relevance, authority and quality is likely to be a significant factor.
For brands that are agile enough to respond to developing events and stories, there is a clear benefit here. Moments also has potential benefits on activity such as reputation and crisis management, where an official company statement may be featured in the context of a story.
Matt Derella, Twitter’s VP of Sales, has also claimed that Twitter will be giving brands their own moments called “promoted moments”:
“What it's actually going to be is a dedicated piece of real estate within the moments guide where a brand can curate a series of different tweets or Vines to actually tell their story”.
However user generated content has and always will be a large part of social media and this will be a key driver in engaging users with this new feature. Twitter hasn’t forgotten about this important reality and as such has started to create Moments by incorporating users’ content.
Twitter moments has the potential to be a fantastic improvement for both users and content creators (both publishers and brands). We will be following with interest to see how the idea of promoted moments is rolled out, and how brands take to the idea of moments in general.