One of the greatest challenges Twitter faces is explaining the platform to new users. Twitter timelines can be overwhelming with the initial set-up of finding interesting people to follow extremely onerous. Twitter’s new product, Moments, is built to cut through the confusion with curated collections of tweets designed to highlight the best of the platform while retaining the sense of real-time engagement that makes the platform unique.
Twitter’s Australian Moments lead Luke Hopewell explained that the product “looks to bring the best conversations on the platform to Australian users in a way that we think they will really love.”
Moments, which is available from today to users of the official Twitter app on mobile and desktop, appears as a lightning bolt in the tray of Twitter icons at the base of the app. Clicking the icon takes users into the Moments section where they can select from curated moments across verticals that include News, Sports, Entertainment, and Fun. The Fun vertical is intended to highlight the quirky stories that can make Twitter an engaging platform during quiet news days.
“The idea of having a local team behind it is to bring the best conversations that are happening in Australia to the fore. Country to country different users talk about different stuff. Australia will have a great focus on politics, sports, and celebrities,” said Hopewell, who would not be drawn to comment on the size of the local Moments team.
“The great thing about moments is it allows us to highlight these really interesting conversations that are happening on the platform. That could be anything on the #AusPol hashtag, which was the most popular hashtag last year. It could be anything related to a sports game that is happening on the weekend, or the upcoming election. It really runs the gamut of really fantastic stuff. It’s all conversationally driven, it’s all featuring tweets from Australian users as well as international stories,” he said.
Australia is the first APAC market to have Moments, reflecting the high level of engagement that Australians maintain on the social network.
Global curation lead Andrew Fitzgerald said that the approach taken with Moments was to not only curate the tweets in-house, but also to enable news publishers in local markets to create their own Moments for the platform: “We know there are news organisations that are doing great work of curating tweets already. We want to do that for our users, but we also want to invite the people who do such a good job of that already with us.
“A partner will publish a moment. That moment can be shared with their followers. We can then add that moment to what we call the guide, the Today tab. At that point the Moment can be seen by everyone in the market.”
The team tasked with curating Twitter Moments operate in a very similar way to the way news organisations curate tweets. Fitzgerald explained that the team uses “a lot of the same tools that newsrooms or journalists may use to identify things happening on Twitter. There is a heavy reliance on Twitter search. We also use a third-party tool called Dataminr For News, which allows us to algorithmically look through Twitter to find things that may become breaking news.
Tweetdeck is one of the tools used by the Twitter team to unearth tweets for Moments. Tweetdeck, a Twitter-owned tool that is available for the public to use, is not generally used by the average Twitter user but rather by power users of the service. Fitzgerald advised that the Moments platform was designed more for casual and new users of the platform, so Tweetdeck users will not see the Moments feature unless they use the regular web or mobile Twitter interface.
It isn’t just publishing companies that will be able to benefit from Twitter Moments, with brands potentially being able to take advantage of the new product. While brand-sponsored moments aren’t available at launch, it shouldn’t be too long until Twitter opens it up to promotional opportunities.
“We do have a promoted Moment strategy. We’re working on that right now with brands because there is really great activity from brands on Twitter and we hope to announce more when we have more to share,” Hopewell advised.