17.12.2015 Meet Moments, Twitter’s latest move to attract and engage new users

Twitter moments blog

Vigilant tweeters might have noticed something a little different on the popular social network this week, as on Tuesday Twitter rolled out its ‘Moments’ feature across the UK.

 The new feature appears as a lightning bolt tab – a reference to its beginnings as ‘project Lightning’ – and can be found on both mobile and desktop versions of the platform alongside the usual home, notifications and messages tabs. Although Moments has been available across America and Brazil since October. the UK is the first European country in which it has been made available.

Upon opening the tab users can expect to find the day’s ‘best’ entertainment, sport or news stories along with the most relevant tweets collated in one place. You can also choose to follow particular stories so they appear in your own news feed, and when the moment ends these are automatically un-followed.

Twitter Moments is anticipated to be particularly useful when following breaking news stories as they unfold, and also for staying updated on live sports events with partners such as The Sun, Sky Sports and the Premier League all on board to provide content.

In January Twitter will also be launching ‘promoted Moments’ within the Moments feature in the UK. This will allow brands to create their own Moments, which will appear on the tab for 24 hours carrying a promoted badge. It’s currently unclear how much this will cost for brands, however it has been reported they currently have a price tag of $1 million in the US and have been used by brands likes Starbucks.

The introduction of Moments could be a significant tool for brands, particularly if it achieves Twitter’s aim of connecting with currently disengaged users. The variety of news included in the tab would allow brands to directly target audiences at specific times, such as during a high profile sporting event when the audience would be at its largest.

Moments is part of Twitter’s efforts to engage its more passive users while also making the platform more simple to navigate for new and unfamiliar users. The feature will also allow users to follow developing stories from their beginnings. Madhu Muthukumar, the product manager for Moments, said: “When you jump into Twitter things are already mid-stream, because you’re not on Twitter most of the day. So when you get there, the odds that something started the second you got there is low.”

Muthukumar said Twitter’s internal focus is “getting the very best content to people”, and it is hoped the simple and coherent format of Moments, which Muthukumar described as “just tweets in a row”, will simplify the process of users finding the news they are looking for.

Since its launch Moments has received a mixed reaction, with some users “absolutely loving it”, and others branding it “annoying” and “unnecessary”. There has also been a backlash over the location of the tab, as it has taken the position of the familiar notifications tab.

Some have also taken issue with the content on the feature, as Moments currently displays the same content to all users. Writing for The Verge, Vlad Savov described the feature as “garbage” and accused Twitter of “fleshing out its Moments with fluff and assorted other junk” while leaving out “real news” stories.

Backlash to new and developing features across all social networking platforms is nothing new – just think back to when Facebook changed its layout to the now familiar timeline, and more recently when Twitter changed favorites to likes. We think Moments will develop into a useful feature to stay up to date with the latest stories breaking online, and if developed into a more personal, targeted feature could be a significant step forward for Twitter and particularly for brands.