Twitter is trying to make it easier for you to discover interesting tweets from people you don’t follow.
On Tuesday, the social network released Moments, a new feature that organizes tweets around events, like Sunday football or an awards show.
Even though though many people find Twitter indispensable, and the company has built a user base of hundreds of millions of people, it lacks the mainstream appeal of bigger social networks like Facebook or Instagram.
Twitter’s constant stream of information can feel overwhelming to people, and that’s what Moments tries to fix: the new feature attempts to filter a huge number of tweets in a way that’s helpful.
“Every day, people share hundreds of millions of tweets,” Madhu Muthukumar, a Twitter product manager, wrote in a blog post announcing Moments. “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.”
Moments is accessed via a new lightning bolt tab in the center of the Twitter app or via a button on Twitter’s website. When you tap or click the lightning bolt, you see tweets grouped together around live events as they happen on Twitter.
So if an Amtrak train derails in Vermont, for example, tweets about the news appear together in their own story.
Moments are displayed one tweet at a time and full screen, usually with a vertical image or video. Live video stream links from the Twitter-owned Periscope app will show up too, alongside 6-second video clips from Vine, also owned by Twitter.
The experience is essentially a more immersive version of Facebook’s News Feed — each tweet fills the screen and asks you to sift through the goings on of a news event as it unfolds.
You can also follow a Moment, which temporarily incorporates its tweets into your timeline until the event is over, which is perfect for an event like the next “Game of Thrones” premiere.
Twitter has a team that curates relevant tweets into Moments, It’s also partnered with media brands like Bleacher Report, BuzzFeed, Fox News, The New York Times, and Vogue, to name a few, to populate Moments with content. Individual moments are grouped under categories like news, sports, entertainment, and fun.
Moments comes at a crucial time for Twitter. It’s especially important for the social network to make itself more approachable, not only to attract new users but also to get existing users to spend more time using it.
Twitter Moments is only available for people in the U.S. for now, but tweets included in the feature can be shared and retweeted like normal to anyone on the social network. You can get your hands on Moments on Twitter’s official iPhone, Android and web apps starting Tuesday.
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