It’s been a busy week for Twitter, and it’s only Wednesday. Just a day after the company announced that Jack’s back, it’s rolled out a major new feature it hopes will drive engagement and ultimately draw in much-needed new users.
“Moments” aims to showcase “the best of what’s happening on Twitter in an instant” by pulling together tweets – with accompanying images, videos, Vines, and GIFs – on big stories as they emerge throughout the day. The company has been testing the service internally for several months now and was previously known as Project Lightning.
You can access Moments by tapping on the lightning bolt icon in the bottom bar of the Twitter app, or in the top bar if you’re using the desktop version.
As Twitter users start tweeting on particular events, a team of editors will pick out the most notable happenings and build Moments using related content generated by users. You’ll find them classified under various topics, including Today, Entertainment, Sports, News, and Fun.
Clicking on a Moment offers up a title and description, then it’s simply a matter of swiping to access all the content on that particular story. A progress bar lets you know how much content remains, and when you’re done you can return to the main Moments page by swiping up or down. Of course, you can also engage in the usual way when viewing a Moment by tweeting your own thoughts or retweeting anything you see.
As Moments usually relate to unfolding events, you can expect new content to be added regularly for a while after a particular event begins, whether it’s an awards show or a major sports fixture. If you become hooked on a particular Moment, you can follow it and have subsequent content appear in your timeline.
In a post announcing the new feature, Twitter’s Madhu Muthukumar offered his take on the new offering: “Every day, people share hundreds of millions of Tweets. Among them are things you can’t experience anywhere but on Twitter: conversations between world leaders and celebrities, citizens reporting events as they happen, cultural memes, live commentary on the night’s big game, and many more. We know finding these only-on-Twitter moments can be a challenge, especially if you haven’t followed certain accounts. But it doesn’t have to be.”
He adds, “Moments helps you find the best of Twitter as easily as tapping an icon – regardless of who you follow. Just visit the new tab called Moments, where you will discover stories unfolding on Twitter.”
Moments aims to offer a way of cutting the confusion some users experience with Twitter by presenting the mass of information landing on the service in a clearer, more accessible way.
Content for Moments is compiled by Twitter’s in-house curation team, though some also comes from partners including Entertainment Weekly, NASA, the New York Times, Vogue, and the Washington Post, with more on the way.
Users in the U.S. can get started with Moments now. If you’re outside the country, hang tight. That lightning bolt will be appearing at the bottom of your Twitter screen soon.
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