For Twitter, its Moment has arrived

Twitter, Moments, journalism, Alex Veeneman, Kettle Mag
Written by Alex Veeneman

For months, it had been known solely as Project Lightning. Twitter, long considered an influence on journalism and newsgathering, had a major programme in the works that would have significant influence on how its users consume the news, as well as how news organisations present it.

Then, last October, the social network finally lift the lid on Project Lightning, releasing it  and its title the US. Thus Twitter Moments was born.  

In a blog post on the social network’s site, Twitter Product Manager Madhu Muthukumar said the initiative would allow signature items that curates a user’s experience to be at the heart of that experience.

“Every day, people share hundreds of millions of Tweets,” Muthukumar wrote. “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.”


The curation question

The focus was on the content, and allowed a new way to chronicle the happenings of certain events. For example, the day that it launched in the US, events such as the migrant crisis in Europe and the announcement by the American restaurant McDonald’s that it was serving breakfast items all day in its locations across the US had been collected in Moments.

An official release date for the UK has not been confirmed.

With the focus on content, there were questions on how this would affect the curation of news, especially with news organisations.

In a telephone interview, Sally Biddall, Social Media Content Editor for the Telegraph, said the introduction of Moments was an interesting move, saying it’s a good conversation starter if you’re trying to get information quickly.

Biddall added that it would change how the conversation is curated, and would indicate some difference as far as the Telegraph’s relationship with its audience on Twitter compared to Facebook.

“We know we have a different audience on Twitter than Facebook,” Biddall said. “The way we share things is different, but at the same time social media and its relationship with journalism is designed to facilitate a conversation. You’re allowing people to engage without delving into a whole news story.”

‘Good for younger audiences’

Moments was launched as Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey tries to reverse issues of user growth, a complaint amongst US investors, and something his predecessor, Dick Costolo, also tried to combat.

While it is a good engagement tool, Biddall says this is making journalism more colloquial, however there are some questions, specifically differentiating between clickbait stories and stories from credible sources. That, as a result, may create some backlash.

Indeed, from a journalistic standpoint, for more in-depth coverage of an issue, Biddall says most consumers will still flock to news sites and other sources for that information.

Yet, Biddall says, Moments is good for younger audiences, considering the amount of content available.

“That generation can engage with the quick, shareable content rather than long form content,” Biddall said. “[Twitter] gives people a voice. It’s good to engage them more in these conversations.”

What do you think of Moments? How can it change how news organisations interact with audiences? Have your say in the comments section below.