Many people question why they use Twitter at all or how Twitter has millions of active users that date back before the massive popularity that exists today on Facebook or the dawn of Google+. If you take a moment to peer back into the history of Twitter, you may remember that Twitter originated as the first real source of group text messaging. True story! Before we could text message more than one person at a time, Twitter was a text-based application before the Twitter app or desktop profiles. Knowing this, you should have better insight into why and how Twitter exists. Made popular by Ashton Kutcher tweeting out his location to friends and fans, causing mass chaos every time he arrived at a well-known Starbucks location (as if any of them are not well known, am I right?), successful tweeters use Twitter in much the same way today.
After the news industry experienced a mid-life crisis over Twitter’s capability to deliver personalized news to millions of people in an instant, today, we live in a world where breaking news hashtags stream across the news ticker of almost every televised news report in the world. This is a prime example of that old adage, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”
Twitter has had a secret project called “Project Lightning,” since early June 2015. At that time, Twitter announced the new function would offer features to let users participate in real-time discussions about major issues and events. If you want to share or read about a concert, live event, natural disaster, or other breaking news, Moments is the newest way to do so.
How to Access Moments
To access Moments from your desktop, click the Moments tab at the top of your screen, next to the Home, Notifications, and Messages buttons. On a mobile device, access Moments using the Options bar at the bottom of the screen.
Note: The Moments feature has currently only been released to Twitter users within the United States.
How to Use Moments
When you first click into Moments, you should see a list of topic collections; the default collection is “Today.” Scroll through these collections of Moments to find a topic in which you want to participate. Once you’ve found something you like, click on it to view all the Twitter content revolving around that topic—from Vine and Periscope videos, to the latest tweets. Just swipe across the topics to read each curated collection.
From your chosen Moment topic, you can favorite or retweet items, just as you would while browsing your Twitter feed. Note: clicking links takes an extra step; you must click into the Tweet before you can click on the link.
When you reach the end of the collection, you can share the content or move on to a new Moment.
Real Time Discussions
Twitter updates Moments in real-time. This makes the feature an ideal way to discover breaking news stories and stay abreast as events develop. As new stories appear, a blue dot appears in the upper right corner of the Moment preview pane. Does a particular story interest you? Twitter lets you “Follow the Moment,” (inspiring right?) which means new tweets from that Moment appear in your regular Twitter feed without you having to subscribe to individual, news-based accounts. “Follow the Moment” tweets stop when the event stops.
A team of live Twitter editors curate Moments Collections for breaking news content 24 hours per day, seven days a week. Because real people do the curating, you get access to the best, newest, and most relevant content, and spammers cannot overwhelm important topics with unrelated posts using hashtags centered on breaking news topics. (Thanks, Twitter!)
How Businesses Can Take Advantage of Twitter Moments
Moments creates a new avenue for organizations to reach clients and audiences via the traditional Twitter platform by creating “branded stories.” Twitters VP of Sales, Matt Darella, says the company intends to provide “a dedicated piece of real estate within the Moments guide where a brand can curate a series of different tweets or Vines to actually tell their story.”
In other words, instead of inserting ads or other “promoted tweets” into the Moment feature, Twitter intends to create an entire section of “Promoted Moments” where organizations can create stories using on-platform discussions.
What to Do when Creating a Moment
When you or your business creates a Promoted Moment, keep some basic guidelines in mind.
- Give your Moment a unique point of view or angle
- Choose tweets for viral possibility; people should want to share it
- Use images when possible
- Keep your messages timely
In addition to the above guidelines, always be sure to highlight the people and perspectives in your story. These are what many Twitter users find most compelling.
What to Avoid when Creating a Moment
Just as you should include certain, specific things when creating a Promoted Moment for your organization, you should also avoid the following:
- Misleading content
- Text-only tweets
When and Where is Moments Available?
Twitter released Moments during the second week of October 2015, and it has already won many ardent fans; it is, in fact, on pace to become a true phenomenon. Currently, Moments is available only in the United States, but support for other regions is coming soon.
Moments is Twitter’s attempt to encourage users to participate in large- and small-scale real time events. Concerts, breaking news stories, storms or natural disasters, and public events are just some of the Moments that Twitter lets its users share and read about. Live editors curate tweets 24/7 to provide the best, most current, and most interesting coverage. If a story interests you, you can “Follow the Moment,” and tweets from that moment will appear in your Twitter feed until the event has concluded. Moments is a new and valuable tool for organizations who want to tell their story in images and text, 140 characters at a time.
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