Twitter is capitalizing on the potential of its Moments feature by allowing more users to create their own “stories.” Starting with influencers and brands, which are already creating Moments that resemble ads, Moments will eventually be available to all users on the social network.
The emphasis on “stories” recalls Snapchat’s defining feature, which was recently plagiarized by Instagram. However, there are benefits to using Moments, and it could prove to be a draw for existing Twitter users.
If you’re unfamiliar with Twitter Moments, it is a curated feed of Tweets relating to a newsworthy topic that lets you follow the event instead of the accounts covering it. Twitter has its very own Moments account, from where you can follow all the major feeds, including its Olympics coverage. Moments can also be accessed via a stand-alone app, for those who want to simply tune in to live events without the hassle of maintaining a Twitter presence.
Influencers and brands that have shared Moments include Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson — who used it to recount the origins of the movement — and Budweiser, which devoted a Moment to its recently launched America can.
Twitter has not elaborated on how it will present Moments by general users. It is unclear whether they will appear on the Moments app, or on the official account — which leads us to speculate that regular, user-created Moments may only be available on timelines. How Twitter manages the influx of new Moments (for example, will they be given prominence on its algorithmic timeline?) could also make or break the feature.
“To date, Moments have been created by our curation team and a select group of publishing partners but it’s always been our goal to open up this creative canvas to more people,” Twitter product manager Gaby Peña wrote in a blog post. “By extending this creative format … to everyone on Twitter, we are giving people a new and dynamic way to tell their stories.”
The ability to promote, and explore, a general event using multimedia tools such as images, videos, and GIFs on a popular social network is Moments biggest selling point. Beyond that, its wider reach is open to debate. Will it be able to attract general users to regularly create “stories” in the same way that Snapchat does?
Unlike its rivals’ offerings, Moments does not boast temporary sharing — although Twitter’s launch of stickers allows for Snapchat-style playfulness. Therefore, users will have to keep in mind that whatever they post will remain on their timeline, unless they delete it themselves. This could end up limiting its daily use, and prove a critical factor in its wider adoption. On the other hand, if popular users and brands take to Moments, it could bring Twitter closer to its vision of creating a live experience that relies more on spectatorship than participation. Any potential advertising dollars shouldn’t hurt either.