Social media: Twitter Moments- Looks good, sounds good…

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By now half of England has read that American guy’s status update on the positive differences between life in the States and our fair isles. If you’re in the half that hasn’t, the distinct absence of visible guns is mentioned several times, along with the joy of pubs, manners, education and the healthcare system people here seem to moan about- despite it being ranked as the best in the world earlier this year.
Here’s a link to it, if you’re interested.
Sadly, though, there are still some things that we’re behind the times on. For one thing, with the exception of British movies and the impending return of Bond, UK audiences almost always get new movies a week or so after our US counterparts. And the same often applies to updates on social media.
Let’s take Twitter Moments, for example.
One of the biggest gripes when it comes to social these days is the sheer volume of information being shared, liked, retweeted, favourited and generally posted to anyone who is listening. There’s so much, in fact, that missing out on a great story is often easier than finding a great story, unless you’re paid to monitor the networks like a hawk.
So for every five minutes we spend watching a dog climb down a ladder like a human, chances are there’s breaking news out there somewhere that would be far more enlightening, but we’re struggling to see the wood for the trees. Launched last week for American users, Twitter Moments looks to try and solve at least some of that problem.
Here’s the deal; a new tab is being rolled out on Twitter that looks a bit like a lightning fork. Click on that, and you’ll see a host of Twitter activity- videos, pictures, links- that has been curated in order of importance. Dig deeper still, and you can sort these by categories such as News, Sport, Entertainment and so forth. We’re then given the most significant stories within those subjects.
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Sounds great? Well, from where we’re standing this could be the best thing to happen to Twitter in quite some time. It should definitely make it simpler to source interesting content from both a journalistic and marketing perspective. Of course, there are always questions to ask, and in this case the glaring quandary is just who is responsible for curating these Moments.
Currently, according to Twitter Blogs, “Bleacher Report, Buzzfeed, Entertainment Weekly, Fox News, Getty Images, Mashable, MLB, NASA, New York Times, Vogue and the Washington Post??? are all partners involved in this process of curation. All major forces in their respective fields, there’s no denying the network has bedded in with some serious players.
Nevertheless, as with any company or editorial platform, there will always be in-house preferences, allegiances and political standpoints that govern what news makes it out to the public. The same will definitely apply here. Whether there are plans to roll this curation opportunity out to more organisations that represent even wider audiences remains to be seen.
Either way, Moments are definitely going to make a big difference in terms of how Twitter is used for news gathering and consumption. The idea is to begin introducing the same functionality to more and more regions as time goes on- no doubt the UK won’t be too far behind. And, when that happens, there will clearly be a need to select more suitable voices to curate for the domestic audience on this side of the Atlantic. Fox News, for example, does not have the best reputation amongst Britons. In contrast, The Guardian is highly respected and a market leader when it comes to online.
The update won’t end there, though. Eventually, you will be able to curate your own Moments, based on the stories you find interesting and judge as important. We’re excited at the prospect of people being creative with how they are curating- further expanding the potential for powerful storytelling. For example, a spat between two politicians or celebrities could be supplemented by breaking stories that relate directly to both sides of the argument, or indeed tweets from other accounts commenting on how the two sides are coming across. It should be nothing short of fascinating.
There is, however, another side to this tale that could well be the real reason why Twitter has made this decision. As Wired reports here, the network has been struggling with ad sales for some time, and the number of new users joining is in decline. Confirmation that there will, with time, be an option to pay for a Promoted Moment shows that there’s a very clear monetary goal here from Twitter’s point of view. Whether this pays off (pun intended, sorry) is open to speculation, of course, but either way it seems like- from a user perspective- the changes look promising, and that’s certainly a start.