Following on from the launch of Instagram Stories, Twitter has announced that its Moments feature will soon be open to all users.

Originally run by a team of in-house editors and select publishers, it plans to allow “influencers, partners and brands” to use it first, before eventually introducing it to everyone else.

It’s a new attempt to boost engagement on the platform – will it work?

Let’s discuss.

What is Moments?

Essentially, Moments is a curated selection of tweets based around breaking news and events. 

Unlike the now-defunct Discover tab, users do not have to be following specific accounts to see them. 

It works by subscribing to events – the Rio Olympics for example, or the Eurostar rail strike.

What’s the aim?

Now a year old, the Moments feature was first introduced as a way of aggregating news and attracting new users onto the platform. 

With Twitter seeing just 3% growth this Q2, it didn’t exactly catch fire.

So, with the decision to open it up to all users, Twitter appears to be reinforcing its position as a conversational platform, as well as a place to find out what’s happening in the world.

In the past six months, it's been making other changes in line with this.

Upon finding out that a lot of people assume Twitter to be a social network like Facebook, i.e. a place to connect with friends and family, it created the ‘See what’s happening’ campaign to emphasise what it should actually be used for. 

What's more, to encourage existing users to be more active, it also announced that when replying to a tweet, usernames will no longer count towards the 140-character limit.

The same goes for media attachments, meaning that people will be more inclined to add opinion and context.

Is it the same as Stories?

With Moments arriving hot on the heels of Instagram’s Stories, it’s easy to assume that it’s another case of copycat tactics.

However, the only major similarity between the two appears to be that both allow the user to follow a narrative thread.

Unlike Instagram Stories, Moments won’t disappear from timelines. 

Will it work?

Although Moments will enable users to curate a personalised feed, most existing behaviour on Twitter tends to be posting links and text about worldly topics rather than personal photos and videos. 

It will be interesting to see whether or not users do use it for the latter – and indeed how it fares (if at all) up against similar new features on Instagram and Snapchat.

In terms of attracting new users, the feature does help to showcase the best of what Twitter has to offer.

Moments provides a convenient place to find out what's happening and where, but its success might depend on how easy and natural it is for users to join the conversation.

Will you be using Moments in future? Let us know what you think.

Nikki Gilliland

Published 11 August, 2016 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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