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?