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Twitter dabbles in news curation with Moments

A snap of the Twitter Moment Mobile User Interface

A snap of the Twitter Moment Mobile User Interface

Twitter Inc has launched a new in-app feature that curates popular daily news stories and social conversations in a magazine-like format.

Christened Moments, the feature aims to lure more newcomers to the microblogging site, increase user engagement and improve monetisation opportunities.

Moments will be a curation of comments, images and videos sourced from Twitter feeds of news organisations and users, as per a press statement.

“Every day, people share hundreds of millions of tweets. Among them are things you can’t experience anywhere but on Twitter: conversations between world leaders and celebrities, citizens reporting events as they happen, cultural memes, live commentary on the night’s big game, and many more. We know finding these only-on-Twitter moments can be a challenge, especially if you haven’t followed certain accounts. But it doesn’t have to be,” reads a blog post from Twitter.

Moments will be curated largely by Twitter employees with contributions from partners such as Bleacher Report, Buzzfeed, Entertainment Weekly, Fox News, Getty Images, Mashable, MLB, NASA, New York Times, Vogue and the Washington Post.

“It is a new way for us, here at Twitter, to show you the very best content that we have. To tell stories at an instant and to let people to dive in right away to the best content on the platform. It doesn’t require followers, it doesn’t searches and it doesn’t require hashtags,” Madhu Muthukumar, product manager, Moments, said in a Periscope presentation.

The feature can be found in a new lightning bolt tab at the bottom of the Twitter app for users in the US.

Twitter did not provide a timeline for bringing Moments to India.

Actual working

A user has to tap on the lightning icon and the phone opens a list of events and news developments. As news stories and events unfold throughout the day, the list gets updated, the press statement said. Users can swipe through to topics such as “entertainment” and “sports” to find more stories from the past few days.

For stories that update very frequently — like live sporting events or awards shows where it’s critical to know what’s happening minute by minute — users see an option to follow the Moment. On following, the tweets are directly blended onto the users’ timeline. This allows them to keep track of the latest updates in real time without having to tap back and forth between tabs. When that story ends, so do the Tweets, leaving the user’s timeline just as it was before.

Jack Dorsey, CEO, Twitter

Jack Dorsey, CEO, Twitter

To start with, Moments will not have promoted content on its platform. However, the company does not rule out content promotion opportunities in future.

Twitter’s performance

Twitter investors have been concerned about the future prospects of the company owing to its inability to attract advertisers at the same rate as competition. According to a recent report by tech website Recode, shares of Twitter have fallen 49 per cent over the past 12 months, fuelling further concerns for investors who have been disappointed by the company’s tardy financial performance.

Early this week, Twitter appointed co-founder and interim chief executive officer Jack Dorsey as CEO. Dorsey was serving as interim CEO of the popular micro-blogging site after incumbent CEO Dick Costolo’s exit in June. Interestingly, in 2008, Dorsey himself was pushed out of the CEO role to be replaced by EV Williams, another co-founder of Twitter. Dorsey came back to the company in 2011 as the executive chairman. Twitter also named Adam Bain as chief operating officer in its latest top-deck reshuffle.

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