Project Lightning Becomes Twitter Moments

Twitter’s highly anticipated Project Lightning has finally launched as Twitter Moments. Slightly reminiscent of Facebook Paper, Moments allows you to follow new stories emerging on Twitter. Though there’s no direct connection between Twitter Moments, Highlights and Trends for now, after using Twitter Moments you might find yourself wishing they will be connected in Twitter’s future .

Twitter Moment of South Carolina Floods
Twitter Moment of South Carolina Floods

Tapping the lightning bolt in Twitter’s mobile apps or from the web opens up Moments. Moments contain a curated selection of around 10 related tweets containing videos, vines, images and other media. The tweets can be Retweeted, favorited (double tap to do this too) and shared or you can share the entire Moment. When you’re done, swiping up or down exits the Moment. Currently, there are only four categories of Moments to swipe through ranging from News to Sports. Interestingly, there’s no category for Technology or Arts, but I’d be surprised if these aren’t added in the near future. (Where’s the STEAM love Twitter?)

Twitter Moments moves closer to the real-time experience I wished was embedded in Twitter Highlights (available in Twitter’s mobile apps).

Twitter Moment South Carolina Flooding

The content and presentation of Moments reminds me of the power of Instagram during national events. The images from Instagram during Hurricane Sandy told a powerful story of what was happening on the ground and in real-time. Not many platforms can do that. Twitter is one that can and moves closer to doing so with Twitter Moments. The content curated for each Moment blends personal and national reactions together to better tell the story of what’s really going on.

At the moment (pun intended), the experience lacks Twitter’s signature real-time feel. For example, in the mobile apps some of the content in the South Carolina flooding Moment are hours old. With time, I assume the experience of following a Moment will make Moments feel more real-time:

Moments are often updated as new information or great Tweets become available. You’ll know a story has been updated since your last view when you see a blue dot in the upper righthand corner of the image associated with the Moment. 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 — you’ll see an option to follow the Moment, which blends the Tweets directly into your timeline. So you can 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 your timeline just as it was before.

The biggest thing I hope to see in the future is cross-pollination between Twitter Moments, Highlights and Trends. These are powerful features that enhance the real-time experience of Twitter, but they’re currently disconnected where there should be continuity. It’s not hard to see how Moments and Trends can compliment each other. However, for folks interested in what’s emerging on a more local level, Highlights’ focus on relevant content from your timeline could add a different dimension to Moments.

For now, I look forward to playing with Twitter Moments more deeply during #TGIT this Thursday. I can’t wait to see what pops up for #Scandal and #HTGAWM!



Corvida Raven

A natural pioneer at grasping the rapidly changing landscape of technology, Corvida Raven talks tech in plain English on