Whoa, Twitter Looks A Little Different

If you hopped on Twitter Tuesday, you might notice things look a little different. That's because Twitter launched Moments, a new tab that summarizes the biggest news and events happening on the platform. The product aims to help users stay on top of, well, the top moments happening on Twitter, even if you're not logged on all the time or follow certain accounts. So if you miss a Dodgers playoff game or forget to DVR the latest GOP debate, Twitter will have you covered by bringing you the highlights of what people have been saying online.

Here's how it works. On your phone, you'll see a new lightning bolt tab that opens a list of top Moments that'll continue to update throughout the day. You can also narrow down your selection based on topics you're more interested in such as entertainment and sports. When you click on a Moment, you'll see an intro and description of the story, then you can swipe to see a curated group of images, Vines, GIFs, and tweets relevant to the topic. You can easily retweet or favorite relevant posts within a story and also share the entire Moment with your followers. For stories you care the most about, you can follow a Moment to stay updated.

Twitter first teased Moments back in June, when it was initially dubbed "Lightning," and it was heralded as a new way to digest what can sometimes be a chaotic clusterfuck of tweets. Now, you don't have to do the dirty work of figuring out what's the most important info on the platform since Moments will be curated by an in-house team along with some partnered help from places like BuzzFeed, Bleacher Report, Getty Images, NASA, and The New York Times. The offering will first launch in the United States for both desktop and mobile Android and iPhones, but there are plans to take it international.

Moments is huge for Twitter, which is brainstorming ways to keep itself in the ranks of social media-apps-you-need-to-have. Earlier this year, the company also revealed big ambitions for e-commerce, having previously tested "Buy" buttons for online users to easily purchase from retailers. In late September, Twitter announced partnerships with Shopify, Bigcommerce, and Demandware to help connect merchants with buyers through one-click Buy buttons. You can bet that'll be ready in full force for this year's holiday season.


But while e-commerce could be the more lucrative route, Moments tackles Twitter's big problem, which is user engagement. During its second-quarter earnings report in June, co-founder and now-permanent Chief Executive Jack Dorsey acknowledged that Twitter's user growth has lagged because people just don't understand what it should be used for. In the second quarter, user numbers grew by just two million to 304 million users in the previous three months.

Whether it's fan reactions to a new 1D album or Donald Trump tweeting yet another disparaging remark about women, Twitter has often become a part of the story and not just the means of communication. Moments looks like an attempt to take control of the storytelling it so easily produces, and it could be a great way to keep its users more engaged. And if it follows in the footsteps of the Snapchat's similar Discover platform, which works with partnered publishers to create videos or stories, Moments could help rake in some dollars for Twitter. Despite a 61 percent year-over-year increase in revenue to $502 million, the company still posted a net loss of $137 million in the second quarter.

Image: Twitter