I have always found Twitter lacking for one reason – I have a hard time finding things that are happening in the world. Yes, I can find stuff that’s trending, but sometimes people don’t use the right hashtag. Or they don’t use it at all. I also follow a number of news outlets, but it’s not perfect. Moments does a pretty good job, but only when I remember to use it. That said, Twitter is attempting to address this – although, this wasn’t a suggestion from me. They are trying to help users find more relevant and popular tweets across the platform, but they are targetting ongoing sports games. Now, when you are scrolling through the home tab on your phone, you will see the option of a carousel at the top of the screen – which will give you current games.
Tapping into any one will show you a list of tweets relevant to the game and they are algorithmically organized. The new feature is called “Happening Now”, and is available as of yesterday on iOS and for Android users. This is only available in the United States, with no indication if it will become available internationally. But is this actually a good thing for Twitter? It’s a great effort, but this is just another algorithmic curation tool that is likely to confuse users. Case in point – Moments – which is the news curation tool now buried in the search tab. Buried being the operative word. There is also Highlights, that operates in a similar way to Moments, but is more personalized and only offered to Android clients.
All of these features operate in the same way – using software to show the best of what Twitter has to offer. And to make the platform welcoming to new users and more useful for existing ones. And yet none of these features stand out with all the noise the platform has to offer. Twitter gave an official demonstration of the Happening Now events, which showcased MLB, NBA and NFL games at the top of the Twitter timeline. You can swipe horizontally through these events, each is given a title and an image. For example NFL Giants vs. Buccaneers. When you tap into a game to see more, the current score appears at the top of a customized timeline containing real-time tweets about the event.
As a sports fan, I do like the idea of this. But only from the perspective of convenience. It means that I can get up to date scores from my favourite sports teams, without having to go somewhere else. Which does make this a one-stop shop kind of app. The question I have though, is will people use it? Like with anything new, I think it will have its moment (no pun intended), but there is likely to be a point when people will give up on it because they’ve forgotten about it. Or another app comes along that meets the need in a new, or even better way. Twitter is doing a lot to bring in new users and keep those who have been around for a while. This is just another way to do it. What do you think – is this a good move for Twitter? I always say that I like to see something different in a platform – and this is different!
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