If you’re an avid Twitter user, it’s likely that you noticed a change in the service at the beginning of October. This change goes by a simple name: Moments. And it’s accessed by the lightning bolt “Moments” tab at the top of Twitter now:
It’s the next big thing in the Twitter universe.
People familiar with Twitter know exactly how expansive the service is – approximately 500 million Tweets cross the site on a daily basis – and it’s impossible to see it all, no matter how often you refresh the screen.
What’s more, much of this interaction is specific to Twitter and doesn’t take place anywhere else on the web: Tweet fights between celebrities, conversations between social or political features or, recently, President Obama’s viral tweet inviting young scientist Ahmed Mohamed to the White House after the high school student made a clock that his high school mistook for a bomb and suspended him for three days for.
In short – Twitter is a great place to interact with your favorite musicians, leaders and politicians, but it can be tough to gather everything that interests you into a convenient place and, if you slack on interacting with the app for a day, you’re bound to miss important news and events. Fortunately, Twitter moments is here to make that reality go away for good.
Currently, Moments is available to US-based Twitter users on Android, iPhone, and Desktop devices. To make the service more accessible, however, a Moment can be shared across all locations, which means that if a person in the US shares a moment, it can be accessed be a user in Europe ahead of the service’s release in those areas.
How Twitter Moments Works
There are many places to get news online but, unlike many typical news outlets, Twitter Moments blends input from around the Twittersphere into one convenient place – so you can access tweets, videos, GIFs and interviews about a certain topic all in one place.
Currently, the Moments pages are assembled by Twitter’s curation team, which pulls content from sites like Buzzfeed, Entertainment Weekly, Mashable and the Washington Post. However, Twitter has announced that Twitter users will be able to curate their own Moments in the coming months, which will allow for more customized sharing and unique and highly viral Moments pages.
To check out Moments for yourself, log into Twitter and click the lightning bolt icon at the top of your dashboard.
This will open a page full of Moments that are happening or are important right now.
These stories update throughout the day as the news rolls in, events take place or new details are added to previously published stories. To make the Moments experience easier for users, the page also features tabs divided into “News,” “Sports,” Entertainment” and “Fun” tabs that users can click on for niche-related news from the last several days.
How to Engage with Moments
In addition to gathering a ton of important news into one easy-to-access platform, Moments also offers several features that make the platform easy to use and fun to interact with. Click on a moment, for example, and you’re taken to an introduction page with a description of the story.
Once you’ve landed on the intro page, swipe right on a mobile device (for info on how to use the service from a desktop platform, check out this tutorial) to read the story, complete with full-bleed photos, videos set to auto-play, Vines, GIFs and anything else the story has to offer.
If you want more, tap the screen once for the option to favorite, Tweet or Retweet right from the story’s homepage. When you’re ready to leave, simply swipe up or down to exit the moment and head back to the Moment guide screen.
If there’s a rapidly developing story you’re interested in, you have the option of following the moment or even embedding it in your website by clicking a link located at the top of the page.
Embedding a Moment into your site is yet another way to stay current on rapidly developing news and to involve others in the one-stop shop that is Twitter Moments.
The Reasoning Behind Twitter Moments
Since its launch date in 2006, Twitter has been a go-to for news, current events, and gossip. The site has been so powerful, in fact, that it’s been credited as a vehicle for social change and a huge driving force behind events like the Twitter revolution and mass protests in in Moldova or the 2009 Iranian elections, during which people used Twitter to spread news and display their solidarity with the protestors in that area.
One of Twitter’s main boons – its impressive speed – is also one of its largest drawbacks. On Twitter, news gets out quickly but it also changes quickly, meaning that users who aren’t literally constantly engaged with the app are going to miss a fair amount of the content that hits their home screen. Moments is an attempt by Twitter to change this.
According to many industry experts, by slowing down the pace of the news and grouping important stories into Moments that users can consult after the original stories have broken, Twitter is hoping to make the entire service easier to access for users who aren’t familiar with Twitter.
In that same vein, though, Moments has the potential to change how people interact with Twitter and may spell less interaction with live events and more interaction with the Moments pages – topic-based stories, videos, and live news pages displayed in a somewhat static format.
Promoted Moments 101: How Moments Applies to Marketers
Although the Moments feature is currently ad-free, Twitter is planning to feature Promoted Moments within a few weeks. This means that when Twitter users log into their Twitter dashboard and click on the Moments icon, they’ll see a Promoted Moment in each topic tab. These Promoted Moments will be used by brands for curated tweets. This is projected to work an awful lot like sponsored hashtags or promoted trends work right now in that it will be another way for advertisers to target specific audiences and promote certain events.
This, in turn, opens up a new avenue for advertisers as a whole. If a company has enough content to fill a 24-hour Moments slot, the service can prove to be a valuable way for them to consolidate releases, updates and news events into an easily accessed Moment for their fans to find.
Additionally, the rich, image-based presentation is something that Twitter has historically lacked. That said, its introduction promises to be a more user-friendly way to engage with Twitter and has the potential to draw new users to the service and, consequently, to the advertisers’ content. Plus, since we already know that visual content is a powerful tool for marketers, Moments’ vine-based presentation offers an exciting, visual, evocative, emotional presentation that can communicate clear messages to consumers and grab attention more quickly than text-based advertisements.
Specifically, this platform opens up an avenue for advertisers to tell stories in a brave new way. Historically, Twitter users scanned through a tweet feed at mach-10 speed, zooming right past many Tweets that may have been perfectly interesting or engaging. In the Moments platform, however, videos are set to auto-play, which means that users may be more compelled to stop to catch the intro of a video they find interesting. This plays back into the fact that the entire Moments platform is designed to encourage users and marketers alike to slow down, to treat the service more like an Instagram feed and to spend time scanning each piece and interacting with the ones they find interesting, exciting or compelling.
The Future of Twitter Moments
While there’s no telling exactly what moments will look like or how popular the service will be just yet, it seems promising and many users and marketers are excited about it. Heck – even MC Hammer has endorsed the service and that pretty much means the sky is the limit, right?
Jokes aside, the likes of Brian Kelly are already calling Twitter Moments the “largest newsroom in the world” and he might just be right. Twitter has always possessed a huge amount of power to dispel information in a rapid, effective, viral way, and many marketers and users believe that Twitter Moments has the potential to revolutionize the service and propel Twitter into a new phase of business.
For now, we can only speculate about the what the future of Moments holds. Until it all pans out, though, I’ll tell you this: Moments is a great way for Twitter to fulfill user need for beautiful, image-dense displays while also staying true to its original mission of quick, accessible information for all users, everywhere.
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