Mobile, Online, Social Media

The True Promise of Twitter Moments Lies in Democratizing Creation

The other day I happened across an exchange between two of Hollywood’s hottest directors, Rian Johnson and Duncan Jones. The latter shared a picture of a Target toy aisle end cap featuring Star Wars branding but with Warcraft toys on it. Jones, the director of the upcoming Warcraft movie, was teasing Johnson, the director of the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII, accusing him of trying to confuse customers. The two then had a fun little back-and-forth.

When I wanted to pull that conversation for this post, though, I needed to go back and search through their Twitter feeds and pull the embed code to use here. And couldn’t embed the entire conversation. If I wanted to curate that conversation on Twitter I would have needed to RT each individual post. Or if I were feeling more ambitious I could have fed them all into Storify and embedded that. That’s all pretty clunky, though.

So it got me thinking…isn’t this what Twitter Moments is supposed to be about, collecting notable moments? This particular example obviously doesn’t rise to the level that warrants the Twitter editorial team (a nebulous group that’s never been well-defined) creating a Moment but it was interesting to me and surely others, especially as an example of the kind of exchange that only happens on Twitter.

That’s why I now believe democratizing the creation of these curated stories might be the key to saving the much-derided Moments. It could even be good for Twitter as a whole as it struggles with both user acquisition and its own identity, with rumors of long-form posts being mulled.

Open Moments FTW

Instead of opening up posts to 10,000 characters, what if the standard Twitter user could curate their own Moments, whether it be conversations like the exchange between Jones and Johnson or even their own favorite Tweets from, say, the Super Bowl or Grammys. Sure, right now I can RT the stuff I like, but that’s all lost to the stream just like everything else. But if I could create a Moment (or whatever it might be called) that included my favorites and then have it be available easily from my profile on the web and mobile app, with a permanent link and, if I wanted, the ability to embed that whole curated Moment.

moments_1-500x486That gives people the ability to share what’s important or interesting to them in a new and interesting way and is something you can’t do on just about any other social network. It’s basically creating a blog post but with just Tweets. Everyone becomes a media outlet and Twitter becomes an essential outlet for expression, which is just what Twitter the company wants to happen.

This is just some thinking-out-loud, but I think there’s potential for Moments, or something like it. But it doesn’t lie in Twitter adding its own top-down editorial, where it decides what is or isn’t important enough to warrant a spotlight being shone. Instead it lies in handing over the reins to the people who made Twitter into the powerhouse it is and who have been the ones to innovate on many of the most successful product features that have then been officially adopted and integrated into the product. This may not be the magic bullet that turns Twitter’s fortunes around, but it can’t hurt and might change the perception of one of the least-loved features the company has introduced.

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