Twitter’s new feature ‘Moments’ is a section of curated content for the individual – live news, stories and ‘moments that matter now’. Updated throughout the day, there are also topics to swipe through such as entertainment and sports.
The sheer amount of content on Twitter can feel overwhelming and apparently Moments helps address this. The lightening bolt tab opens a list of ‘Moments that matter now’. As new stories break, the list is updated. Moments are displayed with tweets, videos, Vines and Periscope links.
Twitter says Moments gives the opportunity for people to see: “Conversations between world leaders and celebrities and live commentary on the night’s big game”, without questioning if this is something people actually want to see.
Isn’t it also insulting to users? Of course, not everyone is as social-media savvy as 24 fingers *flips hair*, but it implies users need help to find interesting content, as if they are unable to find it themselves. Following select people on Twitter is sort of the point – the user chooses what content appears on their own timeline through whom they do and do not follow.
Trending hashtags show what’s being talked about most on the platform and when clicked on show a stream of related images, videos and accounts. So erm, isn’t this almost exactly the same as Moments? The only difference is with hashtags, it’s down to the users what’s trending rather than an organisation that perhaps lets advertising and sponsorship budgets dictate what’s trending. In some ways, the benefits of Moments are obvious – not everyone is interested in trending hashtags (One Direction are trending? AGAIN?) but at the same time, not everyone wants to see what Twitter dubs as ‘interesting’ either.
Perhaps there’s something more sinister at work too. Users can also be uncomfortable with the amount social media sites know about them. Targeted Instagram ads are followed by a stream of comments saying ‘stop putting this on my feed!’. With Facebook knowing more than ever about its users and image leaks on Snapchat, do we really need another social media feature that has us questioning how much they really know about us? How does the targeting work on Moments? Will everyone see the same thing?
I have a problem seeing how these features relate to Moments – other than the name, Twitter’s Moments are a pre-packaged stream of content that assumes its relevance to the user. For those of us who are confident on Twitter, Moments is an insulting suggestion that we aren’t capable of finding accounts to follow and find content on current events. For someone less familiar with the platform, provided they are interested in what Twitter suggests they should be, then perhaps Moments is of use. But likely it will be the same content that’s also appearing in the trending hashtags section of the platform. Yes, One Direction again.