What Twitter’s ‘Moments’ Tells Us About How Consumers View Online Media

Three ways the micro-blog­ging plat­for­m’s lat­est fea­ture tells us about the way con­sumers are view­ing con­tent.

Pat Hong By Pat Hong from Linkdex. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Ear­li­er this month, Twit­ter unveiled Moments, a curat­ed news feed, which high­lights col­lec­tions of top tweets around live events, news sto­ries, and trend­ing points of dis­cus­sion around the world. Is the fea­ture, which at present is over­seen by a spe­cial­ist team of Twit­ter staff, reflec­tive of a grow­ing con­sumer demand for instant, high-qual­i­ty, and curat­ed con­tent? And what can Moments tell us about how con­sumers are view­ing online media?

In the 10 years or so since the plat­for­m’s con­cep­tion, one of the defin­ing ele­ments of Twit­ter’s suc­cess has been their unwa­ver­ing sim­plic­i­ty. For much of the last decade, the busi­ness has revolved around a clear USP, nev­er stray­ing too far from its core val­ue propo­si­tion of enabling users to share mes­sages of 140 char­ac­ters or less.

Moments, inci­den­tal­ly, is prob­a­bly one of the most sig­nif­i­cant changes to the micro-blog­ging plat­form in years. Until now, con­tent on Twit­ter has been dri­ven organ­i­cal­ly. With the excep­tion of the plat­for­m’s paid adver­tis­ing fea­ture intro­duced in 2010, tweets, retweets, and favorites have been the social cur­ren­cy on the plat­form for indi­vid­u­als and brands.

Moments presents a dif­fer­ent propo­si­tion.

Until now, the way con­tent is grouped or orga­nized on Twit­ter has been based on the net­works that users fol­lowed, and the inter­ac­tions they had with oth­er users. Moments offers a view that col­lates media or sto­ries from around the web in a way that any user can access. Accord­ing to the Twit­ter blog, Moments offers “the best of what’s hap­pen­ing on Twit­ter in an instant.”

Reducing The Barrier To Entry

Con­tent on Moments will be curat­ed and over­seen by a spe­cial­ist pub­lish­ing team at Twit­ter, and many ana­lysts have com­ment­ed that in this way Moments has been designed to engage a group of Twit­ter users who may have failed to be inspired by the plat­form.

Much has been made of the fact that appar­ent­ly “near­ly 1 bil­lion peo­ple have tried Twit­ter, but cur­rent­ly only a quar­ter of them actu­al­ly log in once per month.” It’s rea­son­able to assume that one rea­son Twit­ter expe­ri­ences this rate of aban­don­ment is because of the bar­ri­er to entry – where with­out build­ing up a net­work of peo­ple or orga­ni­za­tions to fol­low, con­tent that a user expe­ri­ences on the plat­form is extreme­ly lim­it­ed.

With Moments, this all changes with a sim­ple click of the Light­ning tab:


From there a user gains instant access to excit­ing, social­ized con­tent that is being pub­lished on the plat­form at that very moment.

Engaging Lost Users

Twit­ter users who aban­don the plat­form are “more like­ly to be under the age of 35, and are 35 per­cent more like­ly to live with their par­ents,” accord­ing to a study by con­sumer insights plat­form, Civic­Science.

With Moments, Twit­ter hopes that they can appeal to key demo­graph­ics such as this seg­ment of mil­len­ni­als by pro­vid­ing them with a way to access con­tent that is not depen­dent on hav­ing an estab­lished net­work on the plat­form.

Civic­Science’s find­ings, lapsed Twit­ter users are:

  • More like­ly to be under age 35, and are 35 per­cent more like­ly to still live with mom and dad.
  • More like­ly to be female (num­ber­ing at 57 per­cent, as opposed to the 43 per­cent of lapsed users who are male).
  • 148 per­cent more like­ly to have aban­doned Snapchat and 209 per­cent more like­ly to have aban­doned Insta­gram.
  • Not as addict­ed to their dig­i­tal devices, com­pared to active Twit­ter users.
  • More than 33 per­cent more like­ly to be “sec­ond screen­ing” while watch­ing TV, but not nec­es­sar­i­ly post­ing about the show.
  • Not as like­ly as active Twit­ter users to enjoy telling oth­ers about new brands or tech­nol­o­gy.

How Moments Offers Twitter Users Something New

Moments marks a fun­da­men­tal change in the social media net­work, as it’s the first time con­tent pub­lished on the plat­form will be curat­ed by a team of pub­lish­ing pro­fes­sion­als. Moments seeks to orga­nize con­tent for users and reduce the bar­ri­er for entry to the most excit­ing con­tent on the plat­form at any par­tic­u­lar moment, thus serv­ing a com­mu­ni­ty of users that the plat­form has tra­di­tion­al­ly failed to engage.

The final pre­sen­ta­tion is more aligned with that of a rich-media news site, infused with the respon­sive­ness and social effer­ves­cence that makes Twit­ter such a pop­u­lar and pow­er­ful plat­form.

Will Moments achieve its goals? We’ll find out in the com­ing months. but what we’ve seen of Twit­ter’s new fea­ture sug­gests that it could be a suc­cess.

Here are three ways Twit­ter’s Moments offers users some­thing new, and to an extent, these can be seen as qual­i­ties that are applic­a­ble to the way con­sumers are increas­ing­ly seek­ing con­tent online.

1. Instantaneous & Responsive

Moments offers users instan­ta­neous respon­sive­ness, to top­ics that are trend­ing glob­al­ly.

Twit­ter has long-estab­lished a rep­u­ta­tion for time-split­ting news updates. How­ev­er, where this poten­tial often falls short is that users do not nec­es­sar­i­ly have access to those mes­sages.

Those users who haven’t yet built up their own net­works are a typ­i­cal exam­ple. They should ben­e­fit from Moments’ media-rich views, regard­less of the size or qual­i­ty of their net­works.

2. Community-Driven Content Can Be Hugely Powerful

Unlike con­tent on news or media sites con­tent is social­ized and cre­at­ed by the Twit­ter com­mu­ni­ty. This offers users the abil­i­ty to expe­ri­ence angles on a par­tic­u­lar sto­ry that per­haps isn’t being cov­ered by the media.

A case in point: When Michael Brown was killed by a police offi­cer it was via Twit­ter that jour­nal­ist David Carr first heard about the shoot­ing after his feed appar­ent­ly “explode[d] with videos, pho­tographs and mes­sages”. At the time, the media was still rehash­ing the details of Robin Williams death, but out­rage around Brown’s death rose under the hash­tag #Fer­gu­son start­ing what was to become one of the most con­tro­ver­sial news sto­ries of the year.

On Twit­ter, sto­ries take a life of their own. The plat­form remains one of the most pow­er­ful ways for peo­ple who may not have the ampli­fi­ca­tion and the sup­port of the media to be heard. This means Twit­ter is often a forum for con­tro­ver­sial news sto­ries, which is a role where the plat­form is find­ing a groove.

3. Curated For Quality & Depth

Moments will be curat­ed by a team of edi­tors who have the unen­vi­able task of whit­tling down the half a bil­lion or so tweets sent each day to find the most inter­est­ing con­tent about events and sto­ries that are hap­pen­ing at that very moment.

Any one par­tic­u­lar moment will have a vari­ety of sources. Imag­ine fol­low­ing a storm or an earth­quake and hav­ing the abil­i­ty to see both the media cov­er­age, and live updates from peo­ple on the ground. With Moments users can expe­ri­ence this rich­ness of per­spec­tive.

Do you think moments sig­nals a chang­ing demand for the way con­sumers are view­ing con­tent?

Pat Hong

Written by Pat Hong

Editor at Linkdex/Inked, Linkdex

Pat covers the SEO industry, digital marketing trends, and anything and everything around Linkdex. He also authors Linkdex's data analysis and reports, analysing the state of search in various industries.

Inked is published by Linkdex, the SEO platform of choice for professional marketers.

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